Five opponents Conor McGregor could make his UFC return against
Let's see who Conor McGregor could face upon his return to the UFC Octagon...
As Conor McGregor (22-6-0 MMA record) returns to training, we look at five potential opponents the 33-year-old could face upon his return to the octagon.
UFC president Dana White is targeting an Autumn return for the Crumlin native as he continues recovery from a broken leg sustained last July.
Dustin Poirier - 4/10.
The Dustin Poirier (28-7-0 MMA) rivalry with McGregor dates back to 2014, and UFC 178, when the Irishman won via a first-round knockout. They fought twice in 2021, and Poirier won both fights to claim a 2-1 winning record against McGregor.
There is somewhat unfinished business in this rivalry as McGregor broke his leg in the third fight. The trilogy decider at UFC 264 was somewhat anti-climatic due to the injury, which concluded the fight.
It isn't uncommon for the UFC to make a fourth fight between two fighters. In the flyweight division, the fourth fight between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno is on the verge of being announced for UFC 276, in July.
Yet, this fight is unlikely as the UFC put this match-up together twice in 2021. A new opponent for McGregor would spike interest, rather than risking 'The Notorious' becoming 1-3 against Poirier.
Charles Oliveira 7/10.
The UFC lightweight champion has become a fighter that fans would like to see McGregor face. The Brazilian is known as a tricky submission artist, having submitted Poirier in his last fight at UFC 269.
McGregor could face Charles Oliveira (32-8-0 MMA) with the opportunity to win back his former belt. On paper, Oliveira isn't that big of a draw compared to other fighters linked to fighting the former champion.
However, that all becomes irrelevant when a fighter holds the belt at the top of the division. As a whole, McGregor could fancy his chances of knocking out the Brazilian if he keeps the fight on its feet.
If Oliveira beats Justin Gaethje in May at UFC 274, McGregor could be the next fighter that contests UFC lightweight gold.
Nate Diaz 8/10.
The first two fights between Nate Diaz (21-13-0 MMA) and McGregor were both in the top five grossing events in UFC history (UFC 196 and UFC 202).
The Stockton native has one fight left on his UFC deal, he looks unlikely to sign a new contract with the organisation - leaving him open to free agency.
White has alluded to this fight as 'timeless'. Both fighters have a victory against each other going into the potential trilogy bout. Due to the contractual situation of Diaz, the UFC's hand may be forced in order to reap the financial rewards of this third fight.
Both fighters are arguably past their primes. Nevertheless, the chemistry between McGregor and Diaz is electrifying when they share the stage. This fight would be another blockbuster pay-per-view.
Jorge Masvidal 6/10.
Jorge Masvidal (35-16-0 MMA) and McGregor have had their verbal sparring matches in the past. They are arguably the two biggest pay-per-view stars that are signed to the UFC currently.
'Street Jesus' has fallen out of the title picture at welterweight due to his back-to-back losses against Kamaru Usman at UFC 261 and Colby Covington at UFC 272.
Despite the latest defeats on both fighters' records, a card headlined by the pair would result in one of the biggest UFC events of all time. In the past, White has dismissed this matchup, calling Masvidal "too big" for McGregor. The Florida native has recently disagreed.
“I saw McGregor in Dublin. He’s not small. He looked like he walks around 195-200lbs jacked,” said Masvidal.
This welterweight matchup could result in major revenue for both fighters. A victory for McGregor against Masvidal would catapult him into the title picture at 170 pounds as he chases 'the triple crown.'
Kamaru Usman 5/10.
The UFC pound-for-pound number one has been targeted by McGregor. The Crumlin native wants to fight for the welterweight title upon his return to the octagon in order to win 'the triple crown.'
Kamaru Usman (20-1-0 MMA) currently has the second-longest winning streak in UFC history with 15, one off Anderson Silva's mightily impressive 16. McGregor called out 'The Nigerian Nightmare' claiming he is "gonna waltz back into a title shot."
The Dubliner claims to feel his best at 170 pounds as he doesn't have to be at a calorie deficit. He also believes that his two of his best performances came at that weight - the Diaz rematch and the Donald Cerrone fight.
McGregor's financial pull could lure White into making this super-fight. Michael Bisping versus Georges St. Pierre at UFC 217 being a prime example. The Canadian moved up in weight to fight for the middleweight title having not fought in four years.
However, due to contenders such as Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev waiting in the pipeline for a title shot. McGregor's wish may not be granted.
A no-so-wildcard option, and a nice fight with some unfinished business, would be a bout with Rafael Dos Anjos. They can finally settle a six-year beef, stretch back to UFC 196.
- Paddy Pimblett reveals his underwhelming payout after UFC London win.
- Colby Covington has called out Israel Adesanya.
- Curtis Blaydes tells Francis Ngannou to box Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua.