Well, he actually did it. Conor McGregor is now the UFC champion in two different weight classes. He’s blown the UFC wide open and now has every fighter in the featherweight and lightweight division clamoring for a shot at him. Whomever he battles next is guaranteed a payday like they’ve never seen before. McGregor’s next fight stands to be so lucrative that even welterweights are vying for a shot at him.
He’s got the UFC by the horns. According to Dave Doyle of Yahoo Sports, the Irishman has “unprecedented leverage in picking his next opponent,” and whatever he chooses to do, the fans will follow.
With two, possibly even three, weight classes at his fingertips, what will be his next move?
What better way to conclude the blockbuster trilogy than with a title defence?
McGregor-Diaz I and II were two of the biggest fights in UFC history and the third would probably be record-breaking. McGregor-Diaz III would not only decide the victor of the trilogy, it would also be McGregor’s first title defence in the lightweight division.
Before McGregor came along, Khabib Nurmagomedov was slated to get a lightweight title shot at UFC 205. The number one lightweight contender was instead given an undercard fight against veteran Michael Johnson, whom he demolished with his ground game.
Now the Russian wants his title shot. And he deserves it. He’s undefeated after 24 fights and is possibly the best pound-for-pound grappler in the UFC at the moment.
It was almost a year ago that Conor McGregor dethroned Jose Aldo to become the featherweight champion. After holding the title for over five years and beating every contender in the division time and time again, Aldo lost the title in a shocking 13-second fight.
Since then, Aldo has dismantled Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 to claim the interim featherweight title. It only makes sense that he gets a chance to reclaim what was once his.
Seriously, three titles?!
Tyron Woodley is the current welterweight champion, and if McGregor is going to shoot for three, he’s going to have to go through the Chosen One. Woodley narrowly avoided losing his belt to Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at UFC 205 as the two slugged out a five-round draw.
Now, he has his eyes fixed on a big-money fight. That pretty much leaves him with two options: McGregor or Georges St-Pierre.
Speaking of big money fights…
In order for this fight to happen, a lot of cash needs to be dropped. McGregor has already stated his price — $100 million. That’s roughly what Pacquiao and Mayweather made when they faced off.
McGregor really has nothing to lose. The fight would take place in the ring, not the octagon, and being out-boxed by a pure boxer is nothing to be ashamed of. Being out-boxed by an MMA fighter, on the other hand, is a completely different story, so Mayweather may not want to take the risk.
If Money is going to put his undefeated legacy on the line and risk losing his 50th fight to a UFC fighter, he’s going to need an unprecedented amount of cash.
Photo credit: Andrius Petrucenia (UFC 189 World Tour Aldo vs. McGregor London 2015) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
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