Conor McGregor's return to mixed martial arts (MMA) is the main topic concerning the combat sports world at the moment, and he may have just subtly given away the answer to what everyone has been wondering - who will he fight next?
"The Notorious One" currently reigns as the UFC 155-pound champion of the world and hasn't competed inside the Octagon for nearly a year, as his last appearance inside the cage saw him win that UFC lightweight title with a second round knockout win over Eddie Alvarez in the main event of UFC 205.
Instead of moving on to challenge the next top contender for the title, McGregor would shift to the boxing world and challenge undefeated legend Floyd "Money" Mayweather in a losing effort for his professional boxing debut.
Now that the hype behind the event has died down, fight fans are anticipating the heavy-handed Irishman's next move, as the question of who he will fight next lingers over the combat sports world.
An upcoming interim lightweight title fight between top contenders Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee would likely determine who would welcome McGregor back to the UFC to unify their titles - but there's never a sure thing with "Mystic Mac."
He recently held a special Q&A event in Glasgow to address his fight future, and subtly claimed that his next fight could very well be a lightweight title defense against a top contender such as Ferguson, Lee, or Khabib Nurmagomedov - as Nate Diaz seems to be negotiating himself out of their blockbuster trilogy fight by asking for too much money (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“Look, I’ve got the UFC title to defend and that means something to me. I will defend that world title,” McGregor declared, speaking to Caroline Pearce at An Evening with Conor McGregor at the SEC Armadillo.
“Nathan (Nate Diaz) is there. He’s trying to come in here and make all of these demands. If he starts pricing himself out of an event, I probably will defend against the person who wins this interim belt…or someone along that line to legitimize it again.
“I’ve already gone from the highest of the high in terms of a money fight. Now the question I always get is about defending the belt and legitimizing the sport and the rankings.
“Maybe now it would be a good time for me to go and do that and shut that side up.”
“Again, we’ll see what happens in the fight (next) week. I hope they make the walk. I’ve seen it so many times where they slip on the bleedin’ soap getting out of the bath,” he said.
“Honestly, I feel like in the Tony and Khabib fight, they were in a game of chicken of whose going to pull out first.”
“I’ve done the money fight. I’ve done the pinnacle of a money fight – I fought for the money belt – the WBC money belt it was called,” said McGregor, in reference to the Mayweather fight.
“In my head now, I’m very interested in seeing this fight this weekend and to see how the lightweight title picture pans out and to go in and correct that whole situation. That’s where my thoughts are.
“I also have history with Nate. It’s 1-1 and that has to happen. It will happen. The more I spend time away from it, I think I’ve already done all of the money fights. Now, to legitimize a title and to bring it back, I could potentially bring it back.
“That’s a little bit exciting for me. I’ll see how this whole title picture plays out and we’ll go from there.”
What are your thoughts on Conor McGregor eluding to most likely defending his lightweight title against a top contender as his next fight? Is that what you want to see "The Notorious One" do next? Or should the Irish knockout artist stick to money fights? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
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