McGregor’s Potential Next Opponents

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Seth Wenig/AP/REX/Shutterstock (9888199b)
Conor McGregor poses for a picture during a news conference in New York, . McGregor is returning to UFC after a two-year absence. He fights undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov on Oct. 6
UFC McGregors Return, New York, USA – 20 Sep 2018

Conor McGregor continues to make headlines on a consistent basis, but for all the wrong reasons. Most recently, McGregor was arrested on Monday for strong-arm robbery and misdemeanor criminal mischief after he allegedly destroying a man’s cellphone who was attempting to take a picture. This comes less than one year after McGregor was arrested and charged with assault and criminal mischief for attacking a bus at Barclays Center and comes roughly five months after being involved in a post-fight brawl following his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 which he was suspended six months for his involvement.

As a result, McGregor has now been arrested (twice) in the previous two and a half years that he has won fights (once). His most recent victory came against Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November of 2016.

Assuming McGregor does not face punishment from the UFC as a result of his most recent arrest, McGregor will be eligible to return to the octagon on April 6th of this year once his suspension from UFC 229 is finished. He has several opponents with which he can face upon his long-awaited return.

Donald Cerrone
Donald Cerrone (via BJPenn.com)

A fight against Donald Cerrone has shaped up to be the most likely one for McGregor upon his return. Talks about this matchup first began after Cerrone’s most recent win over Alex Hernandez in January of this year. After Cerrone’s victory, he declared that he wants McGregor if McGregor will agree to it. After the fight, McGregor sent out the tweet below.

On February 27th, Cerrone teased a potential fight against McGregor on Instagram by posting a photo of a bottle of Budweiser and a bottle of Proper No. Twelve. Budweiser sponsors Cerrone and Proper No. Twelve is McGregor’s own whiskey. Cerrone captioned the photo “@Budweiser vs. @ProperWhiskey July 6th”.

Khabib Nurmagomedov
                McGregor (left) vs Khabib (right)                           (via Bloody Elbow)

Despite there being some hype behind McGregor’s potential matchup against Cerrone, McGregor told Dana White he wants a rematch with Khabib for his next bout. Although the matchup between these two seems to be inevitable sometime in the future, an immediate rematch does not seem to be the most logical scenario.

Immediate rematches in the UFC tend to occur after an extremely close bout between two fighters (Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson) or when a dominant fighter who has been successful for multiple years gets caught with a strike and loses via knockout (Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Rose Namajunas).

Immediate rematches do not tend to occur when a fighter dominantly loses a fight. McGregor lost the first matchup to Khabib via fourth-round submission. Khabib dominated virtually every round prior, despite round three being somewhat closely contested.

However, McGregor has the star-power to make things happen inside the UFC. The first bout between McGregor and Khabib drew the largest pay-per-view buy-rate of any UFC event in history (2.4 million buys). A rematch will certainly draw massive numbers. This is a matchup which fans will see again at some time in the future before both fighters retire.

Nate Diaz
                       McGregor (left) vs Diaz (right)                              (via MMAFighting.com)

A third bout between McGregor and Nate Diaz will also be another matchup fans will most likely see some time in the future. Talks of the third matchup between the two began after Anderson Silva mentioned he would like to fight Nick Diaz in Curitiba, Brazil. Nick Diaz is a UFC middleweight and is the older brother of Nate Diaz. Following Silva’s comment, McGregor tweeted:

The first bout between McGregor and Diaz ended after Diaz submitted McGregor via rear naked choke in the second round. The first matchup took place at UFC 196 in March of 2016. This event set the record, at the time, for the largest pay-per-view buy-rate in UFC history (1.3 million buys).

The rematch between the two ended in a majority decision victory for McGregor. This matchup took place at UFC 202 in August of 2016. This event also set the record, at the time, for the largest pay-per-view buy-rate in UFC history (1.6 million).

As a result; McGregor vs Khabib, McGregor vs Diaz II, and McGregor vs Diaz I are the three largest pay-per-view buy-rates in UFC history, respectively.

It is very possible for Donald Cerrone, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Nate Diaz each end up fighting McGregor in the future. However, which fighter steps in the octagon against McGregor next, remains to be seen.

 

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