Conor McGregor's next opponent inside the Octagon is arguably the hottest topic in combat sports, and it's hard to deny interim 155-pound champion Tony Ferguson's claim to the opportunity.
McGregor hasn't competed since November of last year when he defeated Eddie Alvarez in the second round of his main event meeting with Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 from Madison Square Garden, where he knocked out "The Underground King" in the second round to capture the UFC lightweight championship.
After deciding to take some time off to enjoy the birth of his first child, McGregor accepted the biggest fight in combat sports history when he agreed to make his professional boxing debut against the greatest of all time - Floyd Mayweather Jr.
McGregor went on to suffer a 10th round TKO loss to "Money," but while he was busy it was Tony Ferguson who was doing work in the Irishman's championship weight-class of 155 pounds, picking up the interim lightweight title in the process.
With McGregor ready to return to mixed martial arts (MMA) competition, and Ferguson holding the interim title to McGregor's championship weight division, it only makes sense to have the pair meet inside the cage to unify their belts next.
Audie Attar, manager of both McGregor and Ferguson, recently took to The MMA Hour to offer his thoughts on who should take McGregor on next. While he couldn't admit who the Irishman would be fighting next, Attar did admit that Ferguson has earned the opportunity (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“The sport is one where they’re gonna compete. If you have clients in the same weight class and they’re the top of the division, they’re gonna meet. . .
"With Tony and Conor, it’s inevitable. You have the lightweight champ and the interim lightweight champ, so that’s a fight that’s naturally gonna happen.
“No, I can’t say [who McGregor will fight next]. Here’s what I will tell you, Tony earned a shot at the belt. He won the interim lightweight title. Conor doesn’t shy away from a challenge.
"The Nate fight does make sense, obviously, because of the trilogy, they never fought at 155, but they both make sense in their own respective way.
"However, I do believe that when [McGregor and Ferguson] go at it, it will, in my opinion, validate the belt system. It will validate what a championship belt is all about.”
What are your thoughts on both Ferguson and McGregor's manager saying that "El Cucuy" has earned a shot at McGregor next? Do you think that McGregor will take on Ferguson inside the Octagon next? If not, who do you think will challenge "The Notorious One?" Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below!
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