As the dust settles from Conor McGregor’s majority decision victory over Nate Diaz in the best fight of the year, it’s time for the most fun part of being a UFC fan: playing matchmaker. What seems logical for McGregor, what UFC president Dana White wants for McGregor, and what McGregor wants for McGregor can be very different things. Before the fight, Dana White said Conor’s next fight would be defending his featherweight belt in a rematch against Jose Aldo. But after the fight, White also offered McGregor the option of fighting Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight championship, with the stipulation that McGregor would have to give up his featherweight belt.
But after achieving a level of global superstardom that no UFC fighter had previously reached, the hard-hitting, trash-talking Irishman now has the bargaining power to basically get whatever he wants, as long as he shows up to press conferences. He can even be late, he simply has to show up at some point during the press event… So what will be Conor’s next move?
Nate Diaz: Complete the Trilogy
In the post fight interview, McGregor offered Diaz a third fight to settle their score once and for all. Since this victory wasn’t nearly as decisive as Diaz’s second round submission in their first fight, it’s understandable that Conor feels there is still unfinished business between the two. After this epic battle, who wouldn’t want to see them fight again? McGregor’s one term was that the fight would have to take place at 155 pounds instead of 170. But when does Conor want this fight to take place? In the final pre-fight press conference, he said their would be a trilogy between the rival fighters, but that it would not be McGregor’s next fight. With the excitement still in the air, it’s very possible that all the options below will have to yield to Diaz once again before cashing in on their big McPayday.
Jose Aldo: Defend the Belt
Much to the chagrin of Jose Aldo and Dana White, I don’t see this happening for two reasons. First, Conor hasn’t fought at 145 pounds in more than nine months, taking two fights at 170 since. He was always very big for a featherweight and had to undergo extreme weight cuts before fights. He probably feels much healthier fighting in higher weight classes. Second, after knocking Aldo out in 13 seconds in their first fight, McGregor has the bragging rights to walk away from the division for good. While the Aldo vs. McGregor rematch would definitely be a huge draw, I think the main reason Dana White wants McGregor to come back down to featherweight is to setup a superfight between Conor and current bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. There’s a lot of intrigue in Conor dropping back down to 145 to defend his belt, but I just don’t expect him to grind out that insane weight cut ever again.
Eddie Alvarez: Get a New Belt
Eddie Alvarez was relatively unknown before knocking out Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight championship in July. The amazing performance, along with his humble, relatable personality, has instantly turned Alvarez into a fan favorite. Alvarez immediately pointed to the winner of the McGregor vs. Diaz rematch as his preferred next opponent. Alvarez even jabbed at McGregor and Diaz, saying that would be an “easy fight” after facing more difficult opponents like dos Anjos and Anthony Pettis in his most recent bouts.
Alvarez has made no secret of the fact that he’s chasing the money, and he knows that fighting McGregor is the best way to get paid. While Eddie Alvarez doesn’t quite have the star power of the other guys on this list, it’s the best way for McGregor to land a title fight without cutting back down to 145 pounds. Since 155 seems to be Conor’s preferred weight, I think will be his next fight. Alvarez is a much better public speaker than Nate Diaz, and while he’s not the seasoned trash-talker that McGregor is, he could certainly hold his own with Conor at press conferences and interviews. By the time fight night arrives, Alvarez will be a UFC star. Well, co-star… we all know who the star is.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.: Boxer vs. Fighter
The rumors of Floyd Mayweather Jr. fighting Conor McGregor in a boxing superfight have been floating around for almost a year. Both Mayweather and McGregor have expressed interest in an event that would likely break every pay-per-view record held by any boxing or MMA event in the history of the world. So why not make it happen? Think about how difficult it is to negotiate with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Now think about how difficult it is to negotiate with Dana White AND Conor McGregor. Since McGregor is under contract with UFC, any deal would have to be agreed upon by White and the promotion. Mayweather, White, and McGregor all putting their signatures on the same contract seems nearly impossible.
Even if it did happen, it would be a huge disappointment. Mayweather knows the boxing ring is his happy place where he won’t have to worry about kicks, elbows, or takedowns. He knows he can dust off the gloves, come out of retirement and dance around Conor for 12 rounds, tapping away and scoring punches for a unanimous decision victory in a fight that would probably come up short of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao and Suicide Squad in entertainment value. In all honesty, McGregor probably knows this too, but he also knows he’ll make more money than most of us even dream about. In the end, this will be something we continue to speculate for the next few years. It will result in plenty of verbal bullets fired back and forth between Mayweather and McGregor, but it will probably never happen.
The entire WWE roster: Royal Rumble!
Conor has become an enemy of every wrestler in the WWE by calling them things like—I’ll try to keep it PC here—weak men… and threatening to “slap the heads off their entire roster.” McGregor didn’t start trashing pro wrestlers just to piss them off. It’s a all part of his masterplan. After going through a brutal fight like Conor just did, any fighter has to think about how long they want to keep putting their body through this punishment. Conor McGregor already has the perfect persona for WWE. If anything he’ll have to tone it down a bit… And if I had to choose between a career in getting punched and kicked in the head for a living, or a career in pretending to get punched and kicked in the head for a living, I’d probably lean towards the latter.
Don’t get excited wrestling fanboys, McGregor is probably far from finished in the octagon, but he did hint that some of his options “might not be this sport.” I don’t think he’s trying out for the Knicks anytime soon. If he’s not talking about Mayweather, maybe he’s considering a brief hiatus from MMA to jump into Royal Rumble (which I just googled to confirm it is still a thing), January 22 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, and give every one of these “pussy” wrestlers a chance to settle the score once and for all! Every man for himself! Screw it, every man vs. Conor! As long as they guarantee McGregor the victory in the contract…
Conor McGregor is so big he can do whatever he wants at this point. Only time will tell which fight he will choose, but whatever he does, he will do it the only way he knows: Conor’s way!