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Ranking The Opponents We'd Most Like To See Conor McGregor Face At UFC 196

Ranking The Opponents We'd Most Like To See Conor McGregor Face At UFC 196
By PJ Browne Updated

With Rafael dos Anjos pulling out of his UFC 196 title fight with Conor McGregor on March 5th, it's now all about who, if anyone, McGregor will face at in 11 days' time.

The extraordinary news was analysed on today's edition of our daily sports podcast, The Racket:

There is the chance McGregor pulls out completely, but given his previous history in such situations, it would seem unlikely.

Also, it would really leave the UFC in the lurch in terms of a main event. Holly Holm vs Miesha Tate is a fight which would not be able to carry a pay-per-view card on its own.

Despite the short notice, it's likely the UFC will have no shortage of takers for a bout against McGregor. After all, fighting the Dubliner is an incredibly lucrative pay day.

Nate Diaz

This would undoubtedly be a fun fight, and one which could have happened last year. After Jose Aldo pulled out of UFC 189, the possibility of McGregor facing Diaz, while the Brazilian recuperated from his injury, was discussed.

It's a fight which certainly intrigued McGregor at the time.

Nate brings it. The Diaz brothers bring it. They turn up to fight.

Diaz last fought in December when he defeated Michael Johnson on the dos Anjos vs Cerrone 2 card. That fight came following a year-long period of suspension for Diaz due to marijuana use.

Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone

Very few fighters enter the octagon as frequently as Cowboy Cerrone. In the past two years, he has fought ten times, winning nine of those. In fact, the 32-year-old won his first bout at welterweight just last weekend.

He has already emerged as the most likely candidate to replace Rafael dos Anjos on the UFC 196 card. With his management team telling MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani that they are interested. Also, a coach at Cerrone's gym tweeted positively about a hypothetical bout.

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Eddie Alvarez

Alvarez is currently the number one contender in the lightweight division and someone who has a theory about how McGregor can be defeated. If fact, he believes McGregor can be easily exposed; it's simply about someone properly implementing a ground game against the Dubliner.

Another interesting aspect to this fight is Alvarez being half Irish, half Puerto Rican.

He last fought back in January when he defeated former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis via split decision.

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Dustin Poirier

Of course, these two have history - at featherweight. McGregor defeated Poirier in his fourth UFC fight in September, 2014.

Poirier has since moved to lightweight and is on a three-fight win streak that includes an impressive and comprehensive win against Joseph Duffy in early January.

Poirier is currently ranked 11th in the lightweight division.

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Tony Ferguson

Tony Ferguson is a fighter on a serious ascent in the UFC. A seven-fight win streak has seen him rise to number four in the lightweight rankings.

'El Cucuy' is scheduled to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov on April 16th.

Khabib Nurmagomedov

The Kazakh is undefeated (22-0) in his MMA career.

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However, his last fight came nearly two years ago. That was when he defeated Rafael dos Anjos by unanimous decision.

Despite his long period of inactivity in the octagon, Nurmagomedov would be a frightening opponent for McGregor and one whom he might be apprehensive about taking on such a short notice.

The 27-year-old is slated to face Tony Ferguson in eight weeks' time.

Anthony Pettis

The former lightweight champion is on a downward curve in his UFC career, losing both of his previous fights.

Hiss most recent defeat came against Eddie Alvarez last month. Prior to that, it was last year when the American lost his lightweight title to Rafael dos Anjos.

Vote for who you would like to see McGregor fight below.

Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Read: What The MMA World Is Saying About Dos Anjos Pulling Out Of UFC 196

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