Many questions surround the MMA career of Conor McGregor, but none more prominent than who will his next opponent be? The options are limitless for the world’s most polarizing combat sports athlete, but ultimately, the decision will be his. When you draw more pay-per-view numbers than any other athlete on the planet, the power is in your hands. The question is, who will Conor McGregor select for his returning martial arts contest?
Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier 4
The sheer passion, anger, and emotions that followed Conor McGregor’s most recent loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 in Las Vegas could be the answer we’re looking for.
During Conor McGregor’s illustrious thirteen-year professional MMA career, I cannot record a time where the Irishman has expressed such anger following a fight, in victory or defeat. In fact, during his losses, a humbled attitude has often been asserted. Still, this attitude took a U-turn when the referee stopped McGregor’s trilogy bout versus Dustin Poirier due to a fractured leg.
Whether he felt robbed in the moment or the announcement of a technical knockout win for Poirier triggered his mental breakdown, one would believe that no other fight besides the fourth meeting with Dustin Poirier is on the mind of Conor McGregor.
In his post-fight interview, McGregor held a defiant attitude, disagreeing with the certainty of the finish and hurled insults at Poirier and his wife, Jolie. “This is not over,” McGregor told Joe Rogan. “If I have to take this outside with him, it’s on the outside. I don’t give a bollox.”
A three-hour successful surgery and months of high-level treatment show fast progressions in McGregor’s recovery; I think we could see him return to the octagon in 2022 and face the winner of Charles Olivera vs Dustin Poirier for the lightweight championship. With that said, if Dustin Poirier comes up short, I’d still probably favour that matchup which will spark McGregor’s interest more than most.
As Poirier now wins the battle two victories to one, and McGregor’s ego having taken damage, this matchup makes the most sense, in our opinion. Especially with a valid excuse for McGregor at hand, or should I say, at leg.
Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz 3
If UFC’s fanbase decided on McGregor’s next professional MMA contest, I think the majority would point towards the trilogy bout with Stockton’s finest, Nate Diaz.
Nate Diaz is arguably the second-most favourable character on the UFC roster when popularity is equated next to McGregor. And when you combine the history these two have already etched into MMA, I could envision another record-breaking pay-per-view being accomplished if these two men meet up for a third and final encounter.
The first fight at UFC 196 in 2016 saw Nate Diaz claim a 2nd round rear-naked choke stoppage and deliver McGregor his first-ever professional loss. The rubber match was in the same year at UFC 202, and McGregor’s revenge went to plan in a unanimous decision victory for the fighting pride of Ireland.
This leaves a gap in bragging rights, as the trilogy about never surfaced. Interesting, it was McGregor’s only two fights that took place in the welterweight division; he’s yet to return at 170lbs.
The back and forth bickering between the two has been consistent since their first initial media stents for the first fight. Whether it’s on Twitter or Instagram, both Diaz and McGregor have shared respectful and hostile posts aimed at one another. The flame has been kept alive, which should point towards the inevitable.
The most significant factor would be the pay-per-view buy rate, with nearly 3 million buys generated across both events. And if we don’t see it soon, we should anticipate the trilogy before both fighters retire.
The Most Likely Opponent for Conor McGregor’s Return
Regardless of whom McGregor may fight in the future, the best-rated sportsbooks will provide the odds on potential McGregor contests, including the latest speculation that involves welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
Of course, the latest pay-per-view generating machine in Jake Paul has continuously called out McGregor for a boxing fight, but this approach makes no sense for McGregor’s legacy.
Sooner or later, I believe we’ll see both Poirier and Diaz compete against McGregor one more time. Money isn’t the motivation for the Irishman; a historical career in combat sports accompanied by legacy-defining moments are what’s going to drive Irelands greatest martial artist.
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