Dec. 05, 2016
Who will Conor McGregor fight next?
Irish UFC superstar Conor McGregor made history in the sport at Madison Square Garden when he defeated Eddie Alvarez to become the sports first dual weight champion. But now, with many superstars of the sport lining up to fight the Irishman, who will he face next?
Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0-0)
Russian UFC star Nurmagomedov certainly looks next in line for a shot at Conor McGregor’s newly acquired lightweight title. The Russian has been a dominant force in the UFC, but his career has failed to hit dizzying heights due to injuries. Nurmagomedov dominated former champion Rafael Dos Anjos and was in similar dominant fashion when he controlled the elusive Michael Johnson at UFC 205. The Eagle will certainly pose a huge threat to McGregor with his elite grappling and many fancy that McGregor will come up short against the Russian star. However, the Irishman will take solace in the fact that Khabib has weaknesses in his stand-up game, Johnson did land a few times in his bout at 205, and McGregor’s left hand is incredibly dangerous.
Tony Ferguson (22-3-0)
Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson is another candidate for McGregor’s lightweight belt with the American riding on a nine-fight win streak. Ferguson, winner of The Ultimate Fighter season 13, is in the best form of his fighting career and it has been rumored that, if McGregor were to look elsewhere, El Cucuy would fight Khabib for the interim belt in a blockbuster clash. Ferguson has been unlucky with injuries denying him two bouts against Nurmagomedov and denying him a rematch against the last person to beat him, Michael Johnson. In his last match-up, Ferguson defeated former champion Rafael Dos Anjos in a grueling five round battle. Ferguson would provide McGregor trouble on the feet and on the ground, however, he was dropped and troubled by Lando Vannata in July of this year.
Nate Diaz (20-11-0)
With both Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov lacking in stardom and the ability to draw big numbers, McGregor may opt for the trilogy fight with Nate Diaz, a match-up sure to kick start 2017 in style for the UFC. Diaz remains ranked in the top five in the official UFC Lightweight rankings and he has a submission victory over McGregor on his record, the Irishman’s only UFC blemish. Despite losing in the rematch to McGregor, it was extremely close and Diaz has always campaigned as a lightweight rather than a welterweight fighter. Diaz has victories over some of the biggest lightweight names in the company, including Donald Cerrone and Michael Johnson. Diaz, who has a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Cesar Gracie, has already proved that he can trouble McGregor both standing and on the ground and the Californian will be confident of victory in a lucrative rubber match with the Irishman.
Jose Aldo (26-2-0)
Brazilian featherweight legend Jose Aldo is still looking for a shot at redemption after his shock 13 second knockout loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 194 in December last year. The Brazilian also has a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, a style of fighting which he failed to utilize when he walked into McGregor’s left hand. Aldo has beaten all the biggest names in the featherweight division, including an interim title victory over Frankie Edgar at UFC 200. Will the Brazilian however, fail to attract the attention of McGregor, after not only pulling out of their first scheduled fight, but also failing to last a minute when they eventually collided.
Tyron Woodley (16-3-1)
Rumor has it that Conor McGregor and Tyron Woodley had a back-stage altercation prior to UFC 205 and both fighters confirmed they would be interested in a possible match-up. What may hold up any dream fight between the two champions, is that Woodley should have to re-defend his belt against Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson after he and Woodley were involved in an epic majority draw in New York City. McGregor has fought twice at Welterweight, in both bouts with Nate Diaz, but he has never faced a natural welterweight fighter, Woodley’s strong wrestling and added weight could be a big problem for McGregor, not to mention the incredible power which Woodley possesses, as former Welterweight champion Robbie Lawler knows all too well.
Georges St-Pierre (25-2-0)
Canadian UFC star Georges St-Pierre is one of the biggest names in UFC history and in my opinion, is the greatest to have ever graced the sport. Now obviously, a fight with McGregor would be difficult to negotiate based on what weight the fight would take place at. But, just imagine the crowd, imagine the numbers a clash between McGregor and St-Pierre would draw in for the UFC and imagine the hype and excitement it would generate. Stylistic wise, St-Pierre would represent one hell of a problem for McGregor, the Canadian has some of the best martial arts skills in the sport. He holds a 3rd dan black belt in Kyokushin kaikan, a 1st degree black-belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and black belts in both Gaidojutsu and Shidokan, so should he be able to bring down the Irishman, McGregor would find it incredibly difficult to negate.
So, McGregor certainly has the biggest names in the sport, across three weight divisions just waiting for him to agree to a fight. All pose their respective problems and all will be incredibly difficult, but highly entertaining bouts.