It was announced last August prior to UFC 229 that Conor McGregor had officially signed a five-fight contract with the UFC. Following what ended in a one-sided defeat by the hands of current UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, the Irishman now has four fights remaining on that contract. He and the UFC will have some tough decisions to make in 2019 about his next opponent(s).
Nurmagomedov and McGregor will both be disciplined for their post-fight brawl on January 29. The two currently remain suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and may face fines as well as a suspension.
Let’s go ahead and get the obvious one out of the way with Stockton-native Nate Diaz. Diaz has not stepped inside the Octagon since August 20, 2016 when he faced McGregor in the main event, a bout which ended with McGregor winning via majority decision. The fight not only won Fight of the Night at UFC 202 but 2016’s Fight of the Year as well.
Diaz’s current status is unknown after he was scheduled to fight UFC lightweight Dustin Poirier at UFC 230. The fight was cancelled due to Poirier suffering an injury and needing surgery. Diaz was then pulled off the card completely.
What better way for both McGregor and Diaz to kick off their respective years than with a trilogy bout whether it be at lightweight or welterweight. UFC President Dana White hasn’t expressed much interest in this trilogy bout despite pulling 1.3 million PPV buys at UFC 196 and 1.6 million at UFC 202. A potential third bout could potentially draw more. Who says no?
Before you laugh at the idea of a potential fight between McGregor and St-Pierre, think about this: had McGregor defeated Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, we could have possibly already seen this fight lined up for 2019. But he didn’t, and it’s not. Is the interest still there? I believe so.
A fight between the legendary former welterweight champion St-Pierre and McGregor would possibly be the biggest PPV event for the UFC to date. Just like McGregor, St-Pierre is a former two division champion. GSP has held titles at both welterweight and middleweight. The only question is what weight class would the fight be held at? GSP could drop to 155 lbs., or McGregor could move back up to 170. They could even meet for a 165-lb. catchweight.
Should McGregor take this fight, it’s no doubt the most dangerous path he could take–the Irishman hasn’t won a fight in the UFC since defeating Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 back in November 2016. Perhaps it’d be better for McGregor to look for this fight after getting back in the win column.
Many feel a rematch between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor is perhaps the best option. Nurmagomedov could fight Tony Ferguson in the meantime. That way, we could have ourselves an unofficial four-man lightweight tournament.
McGregor won the first fight against Poirier via TKO at UFC 178 back in 2014, but that was at featherweight. Since then, ‘The Diamond’ has won eight out of his last nine fights at 155 lbs. As you recall, Dana White seems to be a fan of this potential bout. After he was asked what was next for McGregor following UFC 229, White stated to UFC on FOX:
“The fight that makes sense right now is probably [Dustin] Poirier. And then Tony Ferguson gets a shot at the title and the two winners fight each other. But I’m not sure exactly on a date when Conor’s going to fight yet. We have to get through this Nevada State Athletic Commission stuff first.”
Of course, whether or not McGregor receives a lengthy suspension will be a huge factor in determining which path he decides to take. For now, all we can do is sit and wait.
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