If UFC 246 showed the world anything, it was that Conor McGregor is back and is just as dominant as he’s ever been. Fighting for the third time in the Welterweight division, McGregor made quick work of fan favourite Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the second fastest knockout of his career.
It was a fight that some people thought would be a tough victory for Conor given his height disadvantage, and the fact that he is fighting two weight classes higher than that of his typical weight. It was clear right from the drop that height didn’t make any sort of difference, with Conor throwing explosive shots with every part of his body.
With the former double champ coming back and remaining about as fresh as he could possibly be following the bout, the question now turns to his next opponent.
In his post fight octagon interview, Conor basically called out the world, stating “any one of these mouthy fools can get it” when asked about what the future holds. Which of these “mouthy fools” is actually next? The options are wide open, and a lot of fun no matter the matchup.
Weight: 170 lbs.
Ranking: #3 Welterweight
The last time we saw gamebred, he was pummeling Nate Diaz in the BMF title fight. Masvidal has spectacular takedown defence and nuclear bombs for hands, demonstrated perfectly by his three straight knockout victories. His power is nearly unmatched in the welterweight division.
The style is very similar to the one that Conor has found so much success with over the years. While Gamebred might be the better wrestler, both fighters thrive when they’re on their feet, and do their best to end the fight with their opponent lying on their back.
Masvidal should have a decided advantage in this matchup, given the fact that he would be fighting at his natural weight in Welterweight, but both fighters have one punch knockout power, and iron chins to go along with it. It’s clear that Masvidal has serious interest in the big pay cheque that comes with a McGregor fight, so there’s definitely a possibility of these two brawlers matching up soon.
Weight: 170 lbs.
Ranking: #8 Welterweight
The trilogy fight fans all around the world have been waiting for. The Conor vs. Nate rivalry was one of the fiercest that McGregor has been apart of in his career, both inside and outside of the ring. There is a genuine hatred from both men, and a serious interest in beating the hell out of each other.
The first two fights between the two competitors were really entertaining bouts. The first of the two was a humbling one for Conor, as Nate showed him what it really takes to fight in the welterweight division, and just how unprepared he was. He was able to submit him in just the second round to secure the dominating victory.
Connor was able to get his revenge later that year with a unanimous decision victory at UFC 202. While it was great for Conor to get his first win in the division, it left the rivalry stuck at one win a piece. Conor then turned his attention to other accomplishments such as winning championships in two divisions and taking on the greatest boxer of all time.
There is still no shortage of bad blood between the two fighters, and McGregor himself already mentioned that he would like his second return fight to be against Nate (although that was when he expected him to win the BMF title. It would be great to see the final fight between the two on Conor’s rise back up the rankings.
Weight: 155 lbs
Ranking: Lightweight Champion
If you tell me you don’t want this fight, then you should probably stop watching combat sports in general.
I get it, what McGregor did in the lead up to their first fight was bad. He was offside constantly and should’ve been better. Did it not lead to some of the craziest shit we’ve ever seen in the UFC though? Give me Khabib flying off the top of the octagon into the crowd every single pay-per-view because THAT is what I want to see.
I think the fight itself might be a different battle than it was the first time as well. In their previous fight, McGregor had spent nearly a year perfecting his boxing style in order to take on Floyd Mayweather as a boxer. He then took a break from fighting in general for over another year (excluding training) before getting into the ring with one of the sports best. In the potential rematch, McGregor will have at least one recent fight under his belt, and some experience against Khabib in the ring.
Unfortunately, this isn’t likely to be the very next fight for McGregor for two reasons. Firstly, Khabib has publicly stated that he doesn’t believe Conor has earned the right to fight him again, and that he will need to work his way back up. Secondly, Khabib Takes on Tony Ferguson in April and will need some recovery time before he can fight again. Given the nature of his last fight, McGregor could fight again around May or June, aligning himself perfectly to fight Khabib.
Weight: 155 lbs
Ranking: #1 Lightweight
I've mentioned his fight with Conor's biggest rival, but there's definitely something there for a bout with McGregor as well. When Conor was at his peak, many people were talking about a fight between these two even before the Khabib beef. Unfortunately, the timing never lined up and they never got the chance to go toe to toe.
If McGregor wants to drop back down in weight class, then the option to face Ferguson would put him in line to face likely champion Khabib (barring an upset at UFC 249). If Khabib forces him to "earn" his rematch then this is the best place to start.
Similar to the Khabib matchup, the schedule's for the two fighters don't line up the best, meaning there is a higher likelihood of Conor fighting someone else first.
Weight: 170 lbs.
Ranking: Welterweight Champion
Okay, this one is a little bit ridiculous, but would it really shock anyone? Conor has entered new weight classes before and got instant title fights out of pure respect, and based on the fact that he is the biggest money making fight in the sport. By no means does he deserve this fight, but on the business side of things it makes a bit of sense.
There seems to be a little bit of animosity from Usman towards McGregor as well. The look on his face when Conor was going off seemed to show that he’s ready to put this guy in his place and wouldn’t mind doing it soon for a lot of money.
This is definitely the worst possible option for McGregor, as Usman is a dominant force in this weight class, and should make really easy work of a man just dipping his toes in with the big boys.
Weight: 170 lbs.
Ranking: #2 Welterweight
When you hear “mouthy fools” it’s kinda tough not to think of Colby Covington. Now this one has no merit, and is probably not even close to becoming a thing; but think of the fun! Two absolute pests outside of the octagon, both engaging in a battle of words for multiple months. Not to mention the fact that Covington needs to find a way to get back into the spotlight after getting embarrassed by Kamaru Usman.
While it’s very unlikely that this thought even crosses the mind of Dana White, Conor Mcgregor, or even Colby Covington, the fight would make a ton of sense to see what McGregor’s got in this division. He wants to hang with the big boys in the division, prove yourself against the number two contender fresh off his battle with the champ.