Who will McGregor fight in his return?

*Note: this piece is entirely opinion based, and may be considered debatable. I am open to ideas, and comments regarding the reader’s view also.

It seems that not even a week passes without a rumour surrounding Conor McGregor’s next matchup.

Being 1-3 in his last 4 octagon appearances, it’s highly doubted that he will get a title shot at Charles Oliveira or Kamaru Usman like he has been campaigning for from time to time; name value only gets you so far, but who could Conor realistically face?

Not scheduled to return to sparring until April, McGregor is appearing to recover quite well from his freak injury in his third bout with Dustin Poirier. Would a fourth bout be necessary considering many of the Irishman’s fans think the first round was a lot closer than the judges would have you believe? It is likely, with both men coming off losses and Dustin seemingly put to back of the line in the pecking order, it would most definitely keep both men active to a degree as they make their case for glory. The only negative to this, though, is the frequency of the match. They’d have fought 3 times inside 2 years, and with the possibility of a McGregor win, there’d be a potential fifth bout to break the tie (if Conor was to have this match and win). Of course, this would mean another payday for Poirier, who has already expressed that he didn’t have the same desire for fighting after their second fight. Now a whole lot richer, would it be necessary to go through it all again?

Michael Chandler is another option. Both men find themselves on two fight skids against some of the top fighters in the division. Chandler was a hair away from becoming champion himself, and then had a fight of the year contender against Justin Gaethje. “Iron Mike” and “The Notorious” consistently show their respect towards the other’s abilities on social media, and seem keen to share the cage with one another. This could have the potential to be a proper stand up war if both men have their way, with Conor favouring his boxing and Chandler catching an eye for a good old fashioned, “just bleed” style slug fest.

The trilogy with Nate Diaz could be back on the cards following the Stockton native’s recent contract extension. This seemed unlikely before, as it was almost a given he’d be matched up with an upcoming star in the hope of building a new name while sending another big one out the door, but the possibility is back and fresh in the minds of the fans that these men are one win apiece, and the trilogy could potentially sell a lot of PPVs.

Max Holloway has shown interest in the “money fight” following his win over Yair Rodriguez, but chances are it would be at lightweight if this was the case. McGregor’s current frame would not be ideally used in a cut to 145lbs, and he already has a win over the former featherweight champion. This is a bit out of left field, but I would not be shocked if this was a bout put together at the top of a card if both men were game for it.

Khamzat Chimaev called Conor out just as he name drops other top stars of the sport, but chances are this fight won’t come to fruition. Stylistically, it is a horrible matchup for Conor who now favours his boxing over his mixed game of old. The recovered leg injury will also come into play in depleting his movement, potentially slowing him down if he doesn’t want to repeat the accident.

There are several matchups available for McGregor, but I personally believe the Chandler matchup has the best merit. Poirier and Diaz shared the cage well with Conor, but there is nothing to realistically gain for anyone involved except money. A fight with “Iron Mike” is fresh and would give either man a fresh start of momentum to make a claim towards title contention, if that is what they desired.

*As I stated at the top of this post, it is built entirely around opinion and no matchups have been confirmed or announced. Any of these matchups would be fun to see, but it is in the hands of the matchmakers and not myself. I am open to comments and opinions about different options, thank you for reading this post.

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