Even though he hasn’t fought in the UFC in nearly a year, the biggest story in MMA surrounds the future of Conor McGregor. With his dream bout against Floyd Mayweather in his rearview mirror, McGregor’s next act is under a microscope.
The Irishman is certainly not short of options but it appears that there are two that stand out when it comes to his return to the Octagon. The one that has lingered for quite some time is a third fight with Nate Diaz, but UFC president Dana White has squashed the notion that a McGregor-Diaz fight is in the works. However, with Tony Ferguson claiming the interim UFC lightweight title at UFC 216, it appears that a unification bout may be in order. And that seems to line up with White’s thought process.
But it may not be exactly what McGregor has in mind.
According to the UFC lightweight champion’s striking coach Owen Roddy, a Ferguson fight is welcome but a third meeting with Diaz is the big money fight.
“I honestly think that people would rather – like, I think people would rather see Conor vs. Diaz,” Roddy said on Submission Radio. “I just think it’s a more exciting fight for everybody. It’s the trilogy. The first two fights, the back and forth between the guys and the way the fights went – you know, who wouldn’t want to see the third fight? But of course, it makes sense that he fights (Ferguson), he defends the belt.”
Ferguson has certainly earned the right to face McGregor with a 10-fight winning streak that dates back to 2013. His thrilling third round submission of Kevin Lee punctuated his claim as the best fighter in the division. However, Roddy doesn’t think Ferguson presents the same challenge that Diaz does.
“His style is, you know, it’s not traditional, it’s a bit unorthodox and stuff, but I just honestly think that Conor’s going to be way too clean for Ferguson,” he said. ““If Ferguson tries to stand with Conor for an extended period of time it will be lights out, in my opinion…he’s tough and durable, so he may take a couple of smacks, but at the end of the day Conor’s going to be way too clean and too technical to… he won’t get touched.”
Dismissing Ferguson as the easier fight will certainly draw the ire of the interim champion but it will be up to the UFC to decide which of the two fighters McGregor faces next.
In the meanwhile, it appears that Mystic Mac may once again be looking for opportunities outside of the UFC as a report surfaced on UK outlet The Sun that suggests that McGregor may be entertaining an offer from the WWE to appear at WrestleMania 34 next April.
“Conor is a huge wrestling fan. His entire persona on stage he has developed from watching performers like Ric Flair and The Rock,” The Sun reports from an unnamed source. “These are the top dogs at self-promotion and trash talk. He watched these guys when he was younger. This is something he’s always wanted to do. The WWE guys have asked him to do shows before with them but the timing was never really right. But this time it looks like a deal is going to be locked into place.”
Rumors of McGregor appearing at WrestleMania cropped up last year as well but nothing ever came to fruition.
Regardless, McGregor’s TKO loss to Mayweather has done nothing to slow him down. He has plenty of options on the table and the world will be tuned in to see what’s next.