Who Will The Lightweight Champion Fight In The Octagon?
Conor McGregor did what he very few people thought he could do when he boxed Floyd Mayweather…he made it a fight. McGregor looked great in the early rounds before tiring out in the tenth round, when the ref stopped the fight for McGregor not defending himself.
Now it’s time for him to step back into the octagon. It’s been over a month since the boxing match and still no word on when he will fight next and who it will be against.
The options are plentiful, but the fight that makes the most sense is Nate Diaz. The two have already fought twice, each winning one fight apiece. McGregor (21-3) lost the first fight against Diaz, the first and only loss of his UFC career, via rear-naked choke in the second round at UFC 196 in March 2016. McGregor avenged the loss by beating Diaz via decision at UFC 202 in August 2016. Both fights were at 170 lbs, so a fight at 155 lbs where they both usually fight, for the belt, would be huge.
Diaz has stated he wants eight-figures to fight McGregor, something unheard of in the UFC. Diaz isn’t someone that always plays nice with the UFC, so it will be interesting if the organization even gives him a fight against McGregor. Fighting McGregor is a privilege since no matter if they win or lose against him, the fighter is going to make a lot of money.
Another reason why Diaz (19-11) makes the most sense is that the fight will make all parties involved the most money. It will sell more pay-per-views than any other opponent McGregor could fight in the UFC fight now.
The winner of the Kevin Lee-Tony Ferguson fight would make sense since they are fighting next weekend for the interim-lightweight belt. But neither fighters are a draw, and it would be McGregor carrying the promotion of the fight. Both fighters are a good match-up for McGregor.
Ferguson (22-3) has won nine fights in a row, with only three of them going to the judges’ scorecards. He is a well-rounded fighter who would most likely look to take the fight to the ground to finish McGregor via submission.
Lee (16-2) has won five fights in a row, but none of those five wins were against the top guys in the division. He has his hands full with Ferguson at UFC 216.
The last option for McGregor to fight would be Khabib Nurmagomedov, one of the best fighters in the division. He may deserve the fight more than anyone. On the other hand, he doesn’t deserve the fight more than any other fighter, but not because of the skills he possesses inside the cage.
Nurmagomedov (24-0) gets injured often and is forced to pull out of fights. He has also missed weight in the past. He was supposed to fight Ferguson a couple of months ago but was forced to pull out of the fight on the week of the fight because of poor weight cutting causing him to feel ill.
The UFC cannot put millions of dollars on promoting a fighter that may not show up the night of the fight.
Diaz is a fighter that will show up to fight no matter any injuries he has. McGregor is also a fighter that will push through injuries just to show up on the night he is scheduled to fight. That’s the fight that the fans want to see. It’s the fight that will make the most money. It’s a no-brainer. McGregor is done with boxing (for now) and ready to get back in the cage.
Reports came out earlier this week that a deal was done for Diaz and McGregor to fight, but Dana White stated those weren’t true. McGregor just made more money boxing on a fight than he probably did his whole MMA career. He’s going to want another money fight, and that’s Diaz. They are 1-1 against each other. It should happen, it HAS to happen. Now…make it happen, Dana.