It's obvious who Conor McGregor should fight next 5 years ago

It's obvious who Conor McGregor should fight next

UFC president Dana White has predicted Conor McGregor will go on a three-week bender after his latest fight. Come mid-September though and he will start plotting his next one.

'The Notorious' lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the 10th round of his professional boxing debut. He by no means disgraced himself and if he never boxes again, he can rest assured that he caused the greatest defensive boxer of his generation some tricky issues.


Asked for his thoughts on his next fight, McGregor said:

"I get itchy if I don't have a fight... I'm certainly open, I'm open to what the UFC and what WME-IMG [the promotion's owners] want and if [others] want me to come over to boxing, we can certainly talk."

Right now, the two men best placed to get that money fight were the ones pictured chatting in Mayweather's dressing room after the fight.

Credit: Fight Hype

Ruling out any rematch with Mayweather, there are six viable candidates for McGregor to face next.


One of the biggest criticisms of McGregor is that he never defends his belts and is, therefore, not a true champion. Thus far, he has won four titles [between UFC and Cage Warriors] without defending them.


Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee will face each other for the UFC interim lightweight belt on October 7, at UFC 216. A victory for 'El Cucuy' would make his case to fight McGregor irresistible. Should Lee win, he may have to do it in convincing fashion in the Octagon and on the microphone to pique McGregor's interests.

To me, taking on the winner of this fight at UFC 219 would be the best way to end an eventful year for McGregor. Boxing may still be an option for him but he needs a dominant return to the UFC to reassert his status. Ferguson would be a tricky opponent but, should he win, he is the obvious option for the Dubliner.



McGregor once again spoke of the trilogy fight against Diaz and it is the contest that would sell the most pay-per-views and garner the most media attention.

Diaz has not fought since McGregor squared their rivalry at 1-1 at UFC 202, last August. As McGregor is lightweight champion and the Californian has fought in that division for most of his career and is ranked well inside the top 10, the 155lbs belt can be put on the line.



This would not do Mayweather vs. McGregor numbers but it would make an absolute mint. Both men are great trash talkers, the sparring footage got everyone talking and it is a fight that would be perceived to be harder to call.

McGregor would definitely be the 'A' side on this one and even doing 2m PPV buys would make both men north of $50m. We feel McGregor would be better served taking his next fight in the UFC but there would still be interest in Malignaggi fighting McGregor in 2018.

One of the SportsJOE team did make a suggestion we would certainly be up for - McGregor vs. Malignaggi on Saturday, March 17, 2018 at Madison Square Garden. Yes. Please!


This would have topped the wish-lists of many fans as recently as March of this year but Nurmagomedov missed weight and a golden opportunity at UFC 209.

There has been talk of him working hard on his conditioning but he was reportedly not ready to take on Ferguson until November so missed out on the interim title bout. White claims McGregor would fight him in Russia on his UFC return but he appears to have slipped down the list of priorities, no matter what he posts on social media...


McGregor claims he is still the rightful UFC featherweight champion and, despite Holloway holding that title, no-one has ever beaten him in that division.

A weight-cut down to 145lbs would be tough but McGregor could be tempted to drop back down to slap some sense back into the featherweights he left reeling from April 2013 to December 2015.


Another step up to the welterweight division is not beyond McGregor.

Woodley is a champion without a slated fight, he is a good self promoter, he has seen off some top fighters in the past few years and he represents the opportunity for McGregor to become UFC champion and 145, 155 and 170lbs.

Don't rule this one out.