7 possible opponents for Conor McGregor's next fight

With plenty of rumours surrounding the Irishman's next move, which fight is the most likely move?

Conor McGregor

Image: ©INPHO/Tom Hogan 

Conor McGregor limped through the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas after his majority decision victory over Nate Diaz earlier this month, and remained cryptic as he sat to down to talk to the press.

"I kicked his leg about 40 times," he said explaining the limp and confirming that he had in fact not broken his foot. The 28-year-old explained that he would not be sidelined for too long, but has since been given a potential six-month ban due to his injuries.

The featherweight champion is out of training until October 5, which gives him time to plot his next fight, and enjoy the estimated $3m take home from UFC 202.

Leaving the press conference late on Saturday night, McGregor warned reporters to watch this space as "sh*t is about to hit the fan".

There has been plenty of speculation as to what exactly his next move would be, and whether or not it is even with the UFC, so here are some of the options that the Irishman has been linked with. 

1) Eddie Alvarez 

This may well be the most likely outcome for McGregor. He was billed to fight for the lightweight title back in March against Rafael dos Anjos, before the Brazilian injured himself, scuppering McGregor's dream of becoming a two-weight world champion in the UFC. It's also worth pointing out that Dos Anjos may be the biggest loser out of all of this, missing out on a big money fight at UFC 196 in March and then subsequently losing his title to Eddie Alvarez. In the first round. On Fight Pass.

Instead, McGregor fought Diaz, lost and put into a chain of events which may well lead to a lucrative trilogy fight. In his column for The42McGregor's coach John Kavanagh expressed his interest in a fight for the 155lbs belt, currently held by Alvarez. 

Eddie Alvarez is Kavanagh's preferred choice to avoid McGregor's drastic weight cut to 145lbs. Image: Gregory Payan / AP/Press Association Images

However, the American's coach Mark Henry didn't take kindly to the suggestion that McGregor would knock out the lightweight champion in the second round, and responded on Instagram to say; "@coach_kavanagh for a jiu jitsu coach who can’t even teach his student @thenotoriousmma how to tie his belt and just got subbed quick you have a lot to say. PS give the proceeds of your book to the striking coach he deserves it."

 

2) Jose Aldo

The interim featherweight champion, this is the fight Dana White wants to see. The UFC President insists he won't strip McGregor of his belt, but has been pushing to get these two in the Octagon once again since the famous knockout at UFC 194. Considering the rigmarole McGregor had to go through to fight Aldo in the first place, and a year worth of promoting the fight, he's not exactly enthused to drop back down to face the Brazilian.

Responding to the notion that he could be stripped of his title if he doesn't return to 145, he said: "How could they do that?". His argument is that it would be unthinkable to hand the title back to someone that he had already beaten in just 13 seconds last December.

Still, another victory over Aldo would no doubt solidify his reputation as one of the best featherweights to grace the division. 

3) Nate Diaz

One of the most lucrative fights of those available to him. There was redemption for McGregor this month with the decision victory over Diaz after the Stockton Southpaw handed him his first defeat in the UFC back in March.

The build-ups to both fights have been excellent, and at times the promotion for the bout had threatened to spill over as the two almost came to blows. Their second fight tied them at one apiece with the prospect of a third fight too enticing to turn down and considering the manor in which McGregor picked up his victory, the performance is something fans will be eager to see once again.

Dana White described it as "not the fight to make right now," but it's likely we'll see these two go at it once again down the line. This time, it would appear, at lightweight instead of welterweight.

 

Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor went five gruelling rounds in Las Vegas onl for McGregor to emerge victorious on majority decision. Image: ©INPHO/Tom Hogan 

4) Georges St-Pierre

Rumours surfacing this weeks suggested that McGregor may be set to face Georges St-Pierre at UFC 205 in New York.

McGregor has previously stated his desire to fight in the Big Apple after MMA was legalised in the state in March, as he feels it would be easier for Irish fans to get to. The former UFC welterweight champion, GSP hasn't appeared for the promotion since 2013, when he recorded a split decision victory over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167.

After taking a break from the sport, he says he is ready to return and now is looking for big money fights rather than titles. Whether it goes ahead we will see in the coming weeks, but GSP would likely have to drop down to 155lbs to make it happen.

5) Robbie Lawler

An interesting, but admittedly unlikely prospect. In the build up to McGregor's previous bout against do Anjos on his quest to dominate division in the UFC, there was talk that perhaps he might go as far as welterweight and fight then-champion Robbie Lawler.

Robbie Lawler would be a particularly tough fight for McGregor. Image: John Locher / AP/Press Association Images 

McGregor did of course go on to fight at welterweight with mixed results (one win and one loss, both against Nate Diaz) but the toll it takes on him to get to that weight and maintain good cardio might be too much. Kavanagh doesn't particularly like the weight, and is insisting that McGregor pursue titles and fights in the more manageable 155lbs division.

Meanwhile, Lawlor himself said previously that the fight "wouldn't have been good" for McGregor and that he would have "taken his soul". Strong words.

Lawler, who went five rounds against the now-Bellator fighter Rory MacDonald, subsequently lost to Tyron Woodley via TKO to lose his title.

6) Floyd Mayweather

Unlikely to ever happen, but still worth an honourable mention. Fighters from different codes and champions in their own right have often in the past fought each other - Andre the Giant fought boxer Chuck Wepner the same night Muhammad Ali fought Japanese wrestler Antonio Inoki.

There were rumblings that this would go ahead after McGregor was pulled from the UFC 200 card for failing to honour his media obligations, and given both fighters know just how to promote a fight, it would be an interesting bout with plenty of attention.

It would most likely take the form of a boxing match, however, which you would imagine Mayweather would win very, very comfortably.

The fight is unlikely to go ahead but would surely bring in a huge audience

 

7) WWE

McGregor was involved in some back and forth with the WWE Superstar roster before his fight with Nate Diaz and even performed a Vince McMahon-esque strut around the ring before his bout in Las Vegas.

It's unlikely that he would cross over to sports entertainment considering he has fought in the UFC and would be likely to alienate many fans because of it. Of course, Brock Lesnar has done something similar with good results.

McGregor described Ric Flair and McMahon as "dons," perhaps in an attempt to grease the wheels for a way in, and it could be a way for McGregor to move into the promotion business after his time in the Octagon.