Having banked millions in his last few fights and headlining the UFC's top-earning cards, Conor McGregor is no doubt the promotion’s most valued commodity. Any fight you put him in next will no doubt generate buzz and big bucks; it’s now just a matter of choosing who gets to fight him for a guaranteed glorious payday.
At the UFC 202 post-fight press con, McGregor was asked what was next for him. He responded by saying, “I have other stuff in the pipeline. Sh*t is about to hit the fan.”
Indeed the options are plenty for “Mystic Mac.” Here’s a look at some of them.
The one for history
UFC’s head honcho Dana White said post-fight that McGregor has two options: interim featherweight champ Jose Aldo or lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez. Fighting the latter isn’t such a bad idea.
Should McGregor fight Alvarez, then he’d have the chance to become only the third fighter to ever hold UFC titles from two weight classes. That’s a place in the history books right there, alongside pretty lofty company (BJ Penn and Randy Couture).
And this fight could very well happen. McGregor’s coach has said that he’d like for the Irishman to win the belt at 155lbs and then defend it against Diaz for their trilogy bout. That would no doubt rake in a lot of cash and give McGregor and Diaz a chance to fight someone else before their trilogy fight. McGregor also didn’t seem too keen on rematching a man he had knocked out in 13 seconds.
The (long-shot) money fight
McGregor said after UFC 202 that he has plenty of options “and some might not be in this sport.” He could be insinuating that he plans to make that fight with boxing money-magnet Floyd Mayweather finally happen, especially now that he’s coming off a win and his stock is at an all-time high. Despite the big numbers that McGregor vs. Diaz 2 brought in, they would pale in comparison to what McGregor vs. Mayweather would generate. This is likely McGregor’s most lucrative fight option right now. However, booking this fight is a long shot as both men fight in different sports, and there’s no word yet from White if his talks with the boxing star’s managers have even begun.
The one for the fans
For most fans, McGregor vs. Diaz 3 is the fight they want to see happen next in order for the two men to break the tie. For both fighters, however, this fight may have lost some luster. For the past six months, their names have been tied in to each other. They’ve been in each other’s heads, ears, and faces, and they've just spent 25 minutes throwing down in the Octagon. They got banged up and earned big money in the process, but neither man seems eager to do the trilogy anytime soon.
Plus, the fact that White has given McGregor just two options (Aldo or Alvarez), makes it unlikely that McGregor vs. Diaz 3 will happen next.
The mandatory title defense
McGregor is more than likely going to take this fight next against Jose Aldo. White has stated that if McGregor doesn’t defend his title next, then it would be stripped from him and Aldo would become, once again, the undisputed featherweight champ. If McGregor doesn’t want to lose his title before even attempting to defend it, then we could see Aldo vs. McGregor 2 sooner than later.
The plot twist
If the UFC really wants to stir things up, then they could still book McGregor vs. Diaz…Nick Diaz, that is. UFC commentator Joe Rogan threw this idea into the mix via social media, and it isn’t such a bad idea. Nate’s big brother Nick is set to return to action soon, and a plot line of “big brother comes in to avenge his brother’s loss” would no doubt sell. Would this happen? Unlikely, but this is MMA and the UFC: the fact that featherweight McGregor and lightweight Diaz have fought twice at welterweight shows you that anything can happen.