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Ranked: Possible Opponents For Conor McGregor In Terms Of How Entertaining They Would Be

PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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Following his lightweight title win at the weekend, Conor McGregor's options for future fights numerous. Also the featherweight champion, defences of both belts are possible. Though there is a feeling he's done with the 145lb division.

Below we've ranked possible fights for McGregor in terms of how entertaining the build-up and the fights themselves would be.

Possible opponents for Conor McGregor's next fight

5. Georges St-Pierre

Of all the fights on this list, the one which would generate the most amount of money for the UFC would be a superfight against Georges St-Pierre. A return to the UFC has long been mooted for the Canadian. In an interview with Bloody Elbow last week, the former welterweight champion said that he was starting the USADA testing process - something which is required if he is to make a comeback.

It would make for an intriguing fight. The UFC's biggest ever name against one of its best ever fighters. But like with the two fights against Nate Diaz, if Conor McGregor was to take on St-Pierre next - bar pride and a lot of money - there would be nothing on the line.

It's also hard to escape the thought that it could make for a less than enthralling fight if St-Pierre was to use his ground game in an attempt to dominate.

4. Tony Ferguson

Fighters in the UFC lightweight division were irate when, back in September, Conor McGregor was ushered to the head of the queue at 155lbs. His first ever UFC fight at lightweight would be a title shot.

Tony Ferguson was one of those whose timeline for a title shot took a setback. After winning his ninth consecutive fight earlier this month,  'El Cucuy' was bumped up to number one contender in the lightweight division.

3. Nate Diaz

One thing makes a trilogy fight between McGregor and Diaz interesting - if it's at lightweight. If the fight is again at welterweight, there's nothing on the line. While both of the previous bouts between the two were compelling, especially the second one, it felt more like they were money-making exercises, it was about entertainment rather than sport.

The lightweight title being on the line would certainly change that. It's a division in which Diaz has plenty of history. Before UFC 205, he was ranked at the number four contender at lightweight.

Diaz is also the fight which McGregor's coach John Kavanagh, speaking on the MMA Hour, said that he wants to see.

I think the second-best 155-pounder is Nate Diaz. I think Nate would beat either Tony [Ferguson] or Khabib [Nurmagomedov]. I think he really turned a corner with the Michael Johnson fight — I thought we saw a new version of him — and I think he looked fantastic in both the Conor fights.

2. Tyron Woodley

'A sign of things to come' is what McGregor said when the subject of Tyron Woodley allowing his welterweight belt to be used as a substitute for the Dubliner's featherweight strap was brought up during the UFC 205 press conference.

The welterweight champion facilitating the appeasement of the strop-throwing McGregor was surprising. There was obvious animosity between the two at the official weigh-in on Friday and the ceremonial one later in the day. That likely stemmed from Woodley posting a video to Instagram of McGregor looking like he was about to attack Eddie Alvarez with a chair during Thursday night's press conference. The American commented that McGregor's demeanour was that of someone who knew whatever was about to happen would be broken up.

Apart from the little bit of history between the two. There's also the possibility of McGregor creating further UFC history by becoming the promotion's first ever fighter to win titles in three divisions.

1. Khabib Nurmagomedov

One those with most reason to be angry when McGregor was handed the Eddie Alvarez fight was Khabib Nurmagomedov. The unbeaten Russian, who extended his record to 24-0 on the UFC 205 prelim card, is viewed as one of the most fearsome fighters in the division. Going into the weekend, he was ranked as the number two contender for the title. A formidable wrestler, the Dagestani would represent a serious test for the Irishman.

After his submission win against Michael Johnson, Nurmagomedov called out 'chicken' Conor McGregor, describing him as the easiest fight in the lightweight class. He also highlighted the 150 million population of Russia vs the 'six million' of Ireland. That, of course, doesn't take into account the worldwide appeal of McGregor.

Russia is a market into which the UFC wants to break. What better way to do it than a title fight between a Russian and the UFC's biggest star? On a recent episode of his podcast, Joe Rogan predicted that a fight between Nurmagomedov and McGregor in Russia is certainly on the cards.

Listen to what I'm saying to you right now. The UFC is about to go to Russia. They're going to do it. UFC in Russia. Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov. That's what I think is coming.

Prior to his originally scheduled fight against Jose Aldo being cancelled, McGregor went on a world media tour. The first stop was Rio de Janeiro. The atmosphere was hostile. It would undoubtedly be something similar ahead of an event in Nurmagomedov's native land. It's press conference to which eyes would be stuck.

See Also: Paul Kimmage Was Refused Media Accreditation For UFC 205


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