MMA | 2 months ago
Not everyone agrees with John Kavanagh's opinion of who's the tougher fight for Conor McGregor
Only one way to find out

The fight that Conor McGregor should take next isn't necessarily the one he will get.

Since Conor McGregor has become a UFC champion, he hasn't upheld the responsibilities that come with holding that coveted golden strap.

Failing to defend his featherweight belt forced him to give up the title and if he shirks his responsibilities as lightweight king, that throne will be taken off him too.

Not all 155 lb contenders are created equally though. Although bitter rival Nate Diaz has been waiting in the wings for his chance to settle the series with 'the Notorious,' he is not the most deserving lightweight title challenger. Not by a long shot.

At the time of writing, Diaz is ranked as the UFC's sixth-best lightweight. A remarkable feat considering he has only beaten two fighters who are currently in the top 15. One of them has fought just once in the weight class, and that win over McGregor came at welterweight. The other, Michael Johnson, is planning a drop to featherweight after going 1-4 in his last five trips to the Octagon.

The other front-runner at the business end of the Red Panty Night queue is Tony Ferguson, the interim lightweight champion. The 10-fight win-streak he has amassed over the last four years is a divisional record. The fact that he emerged relatively unscathed from UFC 216 means he is ready for a quick turnaround for a unification bout.

If McGregor wants to defend to finally defend a belt for the first time in his career, there is no doubt that he should defend it against Ferguson. He has put in all the hard work, kept active, taken fights on short notice and his record pretty much speaks for itself.

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Despite this, John Kavanagh believes that Diaz is the tougher of the two. You can see where he's coming from considering the Stockton native has already beat up McGregor and choked him out then took him to the brink in the rematch.

Not everyone agrees with his assessment. Perhaps the most high-profile person who thinks that Ferguson is a tougher is Michael Bisping, who stated El Cucuy's case on his Believe You Me podcast.

“The problem that Conor has is the same problem that Kevin has: his gas tank isn’t the best. That’s not me being negative, it’s just that history has shown that. But Tony can weather the storm. Can he weather the storm in the way that Nate Diaz did? Can he take those shots? I guess we’ve got to see the fight to find out but it’s certainly an interesting matchup and you can make a lot of cases for both guys to win.”

Bisping is right, we won't know how Ferguson would fare against McGregor until we actually see the fight. We've already watched two classics between Diaz and the Dubliner, now's the time for a fresh match-up.

While you're here, check out the latest episode of #SportsJOElive where we had Donegal pro boxer Jason Quigley, Cork Camogie star Ashling Thompson, alongside the ever-brilliant Dion Fanning in the studio!


Read more about:

Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz, John Kavanagh, Tony Ferguson