Conor McGregor’s future has been left up in the air after he suffered his second defeat in six months to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 in Las Vegas this weekend.
Despite an aggressive start from the Irishman at the T-Mobile Arena, the fight was waived off by the referee at the end of the first round after the ‘Notorious’ broke his ankle, handing his American opponent a TKO win and a shot at Charles Oliveira’s Lightweight title.
It was a humbling conclusion for McGregor, especially in a week where a lot of his pre-fight trash talk revolved around him “murdering” Poirier. With an extended spell on the sidelines with his broken tibia and bruised ego ahead of him, there’s no guarantee that the 32-year-old will ever return to the cage again.
But this is Conor McGregor and he’s still huge business when it comes to fighting, whether that be in the Octagon or the boxing ring, and there’ll no doubt be limitless options for him when he does return. Here are five people he could fight next.
Vs Dustin Poirier IV
Saturday night’s third fight between McGregor and Poirier should have been a fitting conclusion to the Irishman and American’s trilogy but given how the fight finished, we might have ended up with more questions than answers.
Whether a fourth fight can generate similar levels of interest as the previous three remains to be seen but UFC boss Dana White did say that, after Poirier takes on Oliveira for the title, and once McGregor has healed, a fourth bout between the two could happen.
Vs Jake Paul
One man who seemed to delight in McGregor’s loss more than most was YouTuber Jake Paul. “SLEEPY MCGREGOR!!,” tweeted ‘the Problem Child’ in the immediate aftermath.
The 24-year-old has gone 3-0 since kicking off a professional boxing career in 2020. With a win over former UFC star Ben Askren and another fight against another former UFC fighter in Tyron Woodley in the pipeline, a scrap against the organisation’s most famous face, one who has already expressed willingness to participate in such curiosity bouts before, seems a given.
When asked about fighting either Jake or his older brother Logan last week, McGregor signalled that it wasn’t in his immediate plans but certainly didn’t rule it out.
“I don’t see so, but never say never. If they’re gonna keep competing and whatnot, who knows? But, dingbats, the two of them.”
Vs Tony Ferguson
An easy win for PPV sales. Both McGregor and Tony Ferguson are well known for their bombastic personalities outside of the Octagon.
The two men are veterans of the sport, and given how they are also in desperate need to rebuild their respective careers, with each on a losing streak, it would make for a fascinating crossroads event.
Vs Floyd Mayweather II
Many people believe that one of the reasons that McGregor’s career in MMA has gone off the boil in recent years is because of him being distracted by the world of boxing, especially since his brief stint in the ring in 2017, during a super lucrative showdown with boxing royalty Floyd Mayweather.
McGregor was handily beaten by the modern great but still earned a reported $130m in the process and with Mayweather currently fighting YouTubers in exhibition matches, it’s clear that nothing is above the 50-0 boxer when it comes to making money in the ring. A rematch feels inevitable.
Vs Nate Diaz III
The fight that everyone wants. McGregor and Stockton’s Nate Diaz, another firm fan favourite, have shared one of the most celebrated rivalries in recent UFC history, with each fighter recording one win a piece after two fights. Like Ferguson, both men are on losing streaks, so the fight would make sense now. Oh, and it would make A LOT of money.