UFC: What is next for Jorge Masvidal?

A couple of months ago, this was an easy question to answer. Jorge Masvidal (35-13) was going to be fighting for the UFC welterweight title in his next fight. “Gamebred” won fighter of the year in 2019 after knocking out top welterweights Darren Till and Ben Askren. Masvidal capped his year off with beating Nate Diaz for the BMF title back in November. All that was left was for Masvidal to fight Kamaru Usman for the title. However, due to failed negotiations we have seen the title shot go to Gilbert Burns. Now that the title shot is gone, what is next for the BMF? Let’s take a look at four realistic options for Jorge Masvidal’s next fight.

Colby Covington

This fight would have the most personal heat, and it’s the fight that probably makes the most sense from a rankings perspective. Former teammates and roommates turned bitter rivals. A fight between Masvidal and Colby Covington (15-2) makes all the sense in the world. Masvidal has been wanting to get paid more for his next fight. A fight with Covington would be a big money maker. Love him or hate him, Colby Covington has turned into must see TV. After reinventing himself a couple of years ago, he has blown up in popularity.

The two men were once closer than brothers if you just take a look at their Instagram accounts from a few years ago. They were both constantly talking about taking over the UFC‘s welterweight division together. Fast forward to now, and both men cannot stop insulting each other in public whenever the other is mentioned. Covington has left American Top Team due to all of the tension that was in the gym. Whether it was a shoot or reality, the heat has seemingly become real between the two. This fight would be a massive seller for the UFC. A fight between Covington and Masvidal would also give a clear number one contender to challenge the winner of the Usman/Burns fight in July.

Nate Diaz

When everything started to go south with the title negotiations, Masvidal turned his attention to Nate Diaz (20-12) with one tweet.

This tweet caught a lot of people off guard considering the fact that everyone was assuming that Usman/Masvidal was opening. Of course we all learned how the negotiations went, and now Masvidal is left without a dance partner. Well, the November BMF title fight left a lot to be desired. Not because of the fight itself, but because of how the fight ended. The fight was getting ready to head into the championship rounds when a ringside doctor called it off due to a cut.

Diaz had some really good moments in the third after Masvidal had dominated most of the fight. Masvidal made more money against Diaz than he was offered to fight Usman. Well, how about running back the BMF title fight as Masvidal suggested? Have to think that the UFC would pony up a little more money considering the star that Nate Diaz is. This would give Masvidal a fight, and it would give the fans a proper conclusion to the BMF title fight that they were robbed of in November.

Winner of Usman/Burns

Probably the easiest thing for Masvidal to do at this point is wait. Kamaru Usman (16-1) and Gilbert Burns (19-3) are fighting in a couple of weeks for the UFC welterweight title. Masvidal can sit on the sidelines while these two go at it. After the fight is over, Masvidal can go back to the UFC to negotiate fighting the winner. The UFC supposedly made a last minute effort to try to get Masvidal to fight Usman on July 11th, but the money just never worked for Gamebred. After all of this fuss, maybe a second round of negotiations after July 11th will go smoother. In an ideal world, Usman would beat Burns on July 11th, and the UFC would move right back to try to book Usman/Masvidal. Realistically, I think this will be the first option considering the fight is just weeks away.

Conor McGregor

Red panty night anyone? Masvidal wants to get paid, and Conor McGregor (22-4) just wants to fight. McGregor “retired” due to the frustrations he had with the UFC for not giving him a fight. Masvidal passed up a title fight due to his frustrations with pay. Do you see where I’m going with this? A fight with Masvidal and McGregor is a win-win for everyone. Masvidal would get the paycheck that he’s searching for. McGregor would get an opponent who would stand and trade with him, and the UFC would hit it out of the park with a massive PPV. I mean imagine a fight with McGregor and Masvidal with no fans. You could hear every word that the two would say to each other. The McGregor fight is one that Masvidal has wanted for a while, and it’s a fight that makes sense for both men. For Conor, he could lose the fight, but not lose ground in the lightweight division. It’s a fight that makes a lot of sense, but I’m not confident the UFC will move to book it.

What does the UFC do?

It’s crazy, but the two biggest fights in terms of PPV money are the two least likely from the UFC‘s perspective. I just don’t see the UFC pushing to make the McGregor or the Diaz fight for Masvidal. My guess is that they will wait to see how July 11th goes. If Usman gets through Gilbert Burns, I think they start up the talks again to have Masvidal fight Usman for the title in the fall. If that fight doesn’t materialize the UFC could pivot to try and booking Masvidal with Covington. However, a roadblock there could be the UFC trying to book the rematch between Usman and Covington. I respect Masvidal for sticking to his guns, but if he gets another chance at Usman, I really hope he doesn’t pass it up. I don’t think the UFC will give him the money fights he’s looking for, so if he doesn’t get the title shot, who knows what’ll happen to him. Gamebred soared to stardom last year, and it is crazy to think that there’s a possibility that the 2019 fighter of the year will not fight in 2020.

UFC: Conor McGregor Called Out By Mayweather Over Retirement

Conor McGregor, Floyd Mayweather

UFC 250 is past, but some of the most notable news came after the event – Conor McGregor announced his intent to retire, again, and the MMA world has been left wondering if it’s legitimate or if it’s a negotiating tactic to set up better conditions for McGregor to get a fight that he wants.

McGregor claims to not be excited by the fight game anymore, and this time, his retirement appears to be from all combat sports – a departure from how things were when the UFC lightweight took a break from MMA to pursue a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.

It’s McGregor’s former opponent Mayweather that recently weighed in on the supposed retirement, using it as a chance to question past statements from McGregor and question his choice while hinting at the possibility of a future challenge.

“Well, if you decide to come back, I will be waiting to punish you again,” Mayweather closed the Instagram comment with.

The two originally met in August 2017 in a fight that Mayweather won using a conservative strategy, tiring out his opponent over the course of a fight that went on longer than some expected. The end result was a TKO in the 10th round, but the closer than expected nature of the fight didn’t help to extinguish talks about a rematch. After all, in boxing, a rematch can be profitable for both sides involved more-so than in MMA.

But that won’t happen if McGregor’s retirement from combat sports is real – which isn’t a certainty, considering McGregor’s history of apparently walking away from MMA only to come back again before long. Will that happen again? It definitely could, but for now, it looks like we might not see another boxing match involving the always controversial former UFC champion.

UFC: Trouble at the top; McGregor, Jones, and Masvidal frustrated with the UFC

UFC, Dana White

UFC President Dana White seems to have a problem on his hands. Three of the top stars in the UFC have all come out in the last week expressing their frustrations with the company. Everything started with the failed Jon Jones/Francis Ngannou negotiations. Then it spilled into the Jorge Masvidal/Kamaru Usman negotiations. Then out of no where on Saturday night, Conor McGregor announces he’s leaving the sport because of where things stand with him. The world is going through a pandemic which has already created a lot of issues for the UFC, but the UFC’s biggest problems start at the top.

The Jon Jones Situation

Back in early May, the UFC was riding high after being the first major sport to return to action. UFC 249 was a huge success, and so many fighters were chomping at the bit to get back into the octagon. One of those fighters was UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones. Jones has flirted with the idea of moving to heavyweight for the last couple of years, and after Francis Ngannou’s performance at UFC 249, “Bones” was ready to take on the challenge.

The two men exchanged some public jabs through Twitter, and stated that they wanted to fight each other if the money was right. Jones said that he wanted to be paid more to make the jump up in weight to take on the heavyweight knockout artist. Conventional wisdom was that Jones would probably get a pay bump, but then Jones took to Twitter to voice his frustrations.

This was just the beginning of this saga. There was some public back and forth between White and Jones before Jones came out and asked to be released. Jones went on to announce on Twitter that he would vacate his light heavyweight title. Jones is widely considered the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, and he’s one of the biggest names in the sport. White acknowledged the fact that Jones was a partner in the business, and stated that they would figure things out eventually. Jones took to Twitter as recently as yesterday to voice his frustrations stating: “Everything was good until I asked for a piece of the pie…”.

Jorge Masvidal wants answers or a release

By all accounts, the UFC was fully planning on having Jorge Masvidal fight Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title on July 11th. Masvidal had an incredible 2019, and the two men have had verbal altercations which has put a lot of steam behind the fight. Despite not bringing in money from live gates, it appeared that the fight would get done. However, everything changed when Masvidal took to Twitter to voice his frustrations.

Following the Jones situation, it appeared that we had a second failed negotiation with the UFC. Since this tweet, there has been a lot of public remarks made by “Gambred” regarding the revenue split between the fighters and the UFC. The July 11th negotiations are pretty much dead, and Masivdal is wanting answers from the UFC. After defeating Tyron Woodley, Gilbert Burns is likely going to get the title shot over Masvidal due to the fact that he’s willing to accept the smaller purse to make the fight happen. Masvidal is now in this incredibly frustrating position where he doesn’t have an opponent, and he doesn’t have any prospects. White said that Masvidal just signed a new seven fight deal months ago which gives the UFC way more leverage in these negotiations, but it’s still frustrating for the welterweight.

Conor McGregor Walks Away. . . For now

UFC 250 was another huge success for the company. The fights were incredible and the PPV numbers were trending very well. Five minutes hadn’t gone by after the Amanda Nunes fight had ended before Twitter became the platform again for a big statement. This one coming from the biggest star the sport has ever seen.

Conor McGregor shocked everyone by announcing his retirement from fighting right after the event had concluded. McGregor has been very active on social media lately showing off his training and calling out multiple fighters. McGregor has told White that he wanted to fight as soon as he could. White said last week that he would recommend that McGregor wait until Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje fight in September. This obviously was incredibly frustrating for the Irishman to hear.

McGregor stated at the beginning of 2020 that he wanted to be very active this year. He wanted multiple fights, and he wanted to regain his lightweight title. If McGregor had followed the advice of White, he would likely not fight again until December, if not 2021. That would be another year-long layoff for McGregor. He stated in an interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that we wanted to fight Gaethje for the interim title in July.

The UFC was not willing to make that happen, and they did not offer McGregor another opponent. As a result, the superstar was left just sitting there. Frustrated by the entire thing, McGregor took to Twitter to announce his retirement. To me, this sounds a lot like the UFC is not too eager to make a Conor McGregor fight with no fans in the stands. It would be a massive PPV, but they’d be missing out on a $10+ million gate. In my opinion, that is playing a massive role in the UFC’s hesitancy to give him a fight. Now, I don’t believe that McGregor is actually retired, but I do believe that there are major problems between the UFC and their top draws.

Where does the UFC go from here?

The UFC needs to get a handle on this situation. It is one thing for one fighter to publicly come out with an issue, it’s another ballgame when three of your biggest stars are asking to either be released or retiring altogether. The UFC still does not have a main event for their big July 11th card. If it was me, I would try to work things out with Masvidal to get the original fight booked. If I couldn’t make that happen, I’d try to get McGregor to headline the card. Missing out on a live gate is not worth losing Conor McGregor for good. The UFC needs to sit down with these guys and figure out the best path forward for everyone. As White stated, these guys are partners with the company when they become stars. The situation is tense right now, but I think eventually we will see cooler heads prevail. As a fan, I’m hoping that we get to see all three men fight again at some point in 2020. You have to believe the UFC would like that as well.

UFC: Is Conor McGregor serious about retiring…again?

Conor McGregor, UFC

Well here we go again with UFC superstar, Conor McGregor. Right after UFC 250 wrapped up, McGregor sent out a tweet announcing that he was retiring from fighting.

Is he serious?

First off, this is not the first time that Conor McGregor has done this. In fact, this is the third time that McGregor has announced on Twitter that he was stepping away from fighting. After the main event at UFC 200 fell apart due to media obligations, McGregor announced that he was stepping away from fighting. Then, McGregor announced in March of last year that he “Decided to Retire”. Of course, we all know that those retirements were extremely short lived. McGregor unretired almost immediately after both of those tweets were sent out.

We don’t really know what the motive of the tweet was, but I would be extremely surprised if McGregor is actually retired. He’s currently first in line to fight the winner of the Khabib Nurmagomedov/Justin Gaethje title fight. Dana White has come out this week saying that McGregor needed to just wait for the winner of that fight. McGregor was very vocal at the beginning of the year that he wanted to fight a number of times. McGregor has called out multiple fighters on Twitter recently, and even accepted a fight with Anderson Silva in the last couple of weeks.

Bottom line is that Conor McGregor is not actually retired. I would bet my entire house that McGregor is not walking away from the sport. There has been a lot of contract disputes going on with the UFC and it’s stars due to fighter pay. Maybe this is another spat? Who knows, but what I do know is that Conor McGregor is not permanently retiring from the UFC. I’m sure this thing will blow over sooner rather than later, and McGregor will announce that he’s coming back. . . again.

UFC: Realistic Super Fights to Make

There has been a lot of craziness going on in the UFC with people calling for super fights, and others like Jon Jones saying they will walk away until he gets compensated for a super fight. With all these discussions going on, I started thinking about the UFC and super fights that could be made. Right now, the sports world is still not back to normal, but the UFC is pushing forward with events. The UFC will eventually bring fans back to the arena and when they do, there are several realistic options for super fights. Let’s breakdown some of the fights that the UFC could make to earn large paydays for the company and the fighters who are seeking a fat check.

Francis Ngannou vs Anthony Johnson

For this first one, I wanted to target a fight that could realistically come together quickly. This could be a fight that comes together before fans are even back in the stands. You might question this fight at first, but once you think about it, it starts to make sense. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6) hasn’t fought in over three years since he lost to Daniel Cormier for the second time at UFC 210. Johnson announced after the fight that he would be stepping away from the sport to pursue other avenues. The decision came as a shock to everyone because Rumble was peaking in his career. He was coming off of a five-year stretch where he went 12-2 with nine knockouts. The only man to defeat him was Cormier, who did it twice. When Rumble was knocking people out, it was scary to watch. His knockouts over Glover Teixeira, Ryan Bader, and Jimi Manuwa were impressive, to say the least. Rumble announced late last year that he would be returning to the UFC, but he said he hadn’t decided which division he would compete in. He originally said that he intended to compete at heavyweight, but he suggested that he might try to drop down to 205 for another run at the light heavyweight title. I think he should come back to the heavyweight division to stand across the octagon from someone possibly even more terrifying.

Is there anyone more terrifying in the UFC right now than Francis Ngannou (15-3)? Ngannou lost his way with two lackluster performances a couple of years ago, but since then, he’s fought four times with none of those fights going more than 90 seconds. Ngannou has rattled off four consecutive knockouts against Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Last month, Ngannou took on the undefeated, Rozenstruik in a matchup that was much anticipated. Rozenstruik called Ngannou out, and Francis made him aware that calling him out was a mistake. Ngannou destroyed the previously unbeaten Rozenstruik in just 20 seconds. I think it’s safe to say that Ngannou is the hardest hitter that the UFC has ever seen. It’s remarkable to say, but he reminds me of a prime Mike Tyson when he fights. Right now, Ngannou is left without a dance partner. There was some back and forth with him and Jon Jones, but that fight does not look like it’s going to materialize. Ngannou should be fighting for the title, but Cormier and champion, Stipe Miocic are in the process of negotiating the conclusion to their trilogy. Ngannou needs someone to fight, and Rumble Johnson needs a big name for his return. Sign me up right now for two of the most prolific knockout artists in UFC history going head to head. Whoever wins the fight would be first in line to fight for the title after Cormier and Miocic fight. You know this fight will not go to the ground and you have to believe that someone would be going to sleep. It’s a fight that gets my heart racing just thinking about it.

Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko 3

Normally you wouldn’t consider a trilogy fight where one fighter is 2-0 in the series to be a super fight, but this isn’t your normal circumstance. The two best female fighters in the world are Amanda Nunes (19-4) and Valentina Shevchenko (19-3). I completely disagree with the UFC’s women’s P4P rankings where they moved strawweight champion, Weili Zhang, ahead of Shevchenko. No disrespect to Zhang, but she doesn’t have the resume to be ranked ahead of Shevchenko. Shevchenko has looked invincible since the UFC created the flyweight division. She is 5-0 and not a single one of those fights was even remotely competitive. Shevchenko is truly the full package with no weaknesses in her game. Her last loss came as UFC 215 to Amanda Nunes. I believe that Nunes is the greatest female fighter of all time, but I believe that Shevchenko won the last fight between the two of them.

Since 2015, the only person to make Amanda Nunes look mortal is Valentina Shevchenko. Nunes has put together a resume that puts her easily in the top spot to be the greatest female fighter of all time. If you think of the all-time greats in women’s MMA, she’s beaten them. When you think of the most famous names in women’s MMA, you think of Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg, Miesha Tate, and Holly Holm. Well, Nunes beat all four of those women and none of them made it to the second round. She is the only woman in UFC history to hold a belt in two weight classes at the same time. The only real challenge she’s had was that fight against Shevchenko. These two women are just operating on an entirely different level. Nunes is fighting Felicia Spencer this Saturday at UFC 250 and once Shevchenko recovers from her injury, she will likely be facing off with Joanne Calderwood. I don’t see either challenger posing a threat to the two champions. Assuming they both get through those fights victorious, I think you should pair them up again. If you look at the rankings, there is no one in those weight classes who will give them trouble, and the toughest women in their divisions have already been defeated by them. The only fight that would make sense is pairing these two back up for a massive fight in terms of legacy. Shevchenko does have the opportunity for a second champion versus champion fight in the future with Zhang, but I think Zhang needs to fight Rose Namajunas and perhaps another fight with Joanna Jedrzejczyk before she moves up to 125 to challenge “Bullet”.

Jon Jones vs Israel Adesanya

This is the matchup that you dream about when you think about super fights. Two undefeated champions facing off with some heat between the two of them. There is no question that these two men do not like each other, and this fight would be massive for UFC fans all over the world. Israel Adesanya (19-0) burst onto the UFC just two years ago, but he’s already blossomed into one of the biggest stars in the sport. Sporting a perfect 19-0 record, Adesanya has defeated Robert Whittaker, Kelvin Gastelum, Yoel Romero, and Anderson Silva in the last 17 months. The Nigerian native has dazzled fans with his flashy striking style and his confident personality. Adesanya has a little work to do in his own division before moving up to 205, but “The Last Stylebender” already has a time frame for his move. Adesanya will fight the undefeated, Paulo Costa (13-0), at some point this year. If Adesanya gets through Costa, his last fight before a move up would likely be a rematch with Robert Whittaker or a fight with Darren Till depending on who wins their fight in July. Adesanya says that he wants to come after Jon Jones in 2021.

Jon Jones (26-1-1) is in a little bit of a weird spot. Widely considered the greatest MMA fighter of all-time, Jones is currently in a contract dispute with the UFC. Jones’ last three fights didn’t sell extremely well, and Jones didn’t give fans a reason to want to tune in. Jones has almost looked like he’s just been going through the motions in his last couple of fights. When he came back and won the title against Alexander Gustafsson, Jones had that killer instinct. He finished Gustafsson and made a statement in doing so. Since then he’s had okay decision victories over Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, and Dominick Reyes. The Santos fight was a split decision, and a lot of people believed he lost the fight to Reyes. Jones seems to be the victim of fighting to his competition level. When he doesn’t see someone as a major threat, he just goes through the motions in the fight. Jones had been asking for a fight with UFC heavyweight star, Francis Ngannou, which led to this contract dispute. Jones wants to get paid more, and he probably should get paid more. However, from the UFC’s perspective, they are looking at a guy who hasn’t sold well in his last few outings which doesn’t give them the incentive to pay Jones more. Jones has said he would vacate the title due to all of this, and if he goes through with that, this super fight kind of goes out the window. This fight would need to be for the light heavyweight title, but if Jones leaves the UFC for a while, the steam behind this super fight goes with him. I think the UFC will work things out with Jones and he will defend his title towards the end of the year. Assuming Jones gets through that fight victorious, he can wait for Adesanya. If both guys take care of business, the UFC should look to book Adesanya/Jones for the light heavyweight title at International Fight Week next July at the newly built Allegiant Stadium which holds over 60,000 fans.

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Conor McGregor 2

Did you think there’d be a super fight list without the biggest draw in the history of the sport? Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) and Conor McGregor (22-4) are the two highest-paid fighters in the UFC. They are global stars who sell at the highest level and they hate each other. Khabib Nurmagomedov is arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the world. The man is an absolute animal who has never really been challenged in his 28 fights which sounds insane. Nurmagomedov has mauled every man that has stepped across the cage from him, and his last two performances have been his best showings so far. Last September, Nurmagomedov fought Dustin Poirier for the undisputed lightweight championship. Poirier had captured the interim lightweight title, and came into the fight with an incredible amount of momentum coming off wins against Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway. Many people thought Poirier would give Nurmagomedov trouble, but there was no trouble at all. There were a couple of times where Poirier threatened Khabib, but for the most part, it was a one-sided mauling. Prior to that fight, Nurmagomedov faced off against the famous Irishman at UFC 229. Nurmagomedov dominated that fight even rocking McGregor on the feet. Khabib would go on to submit McGregor in the fourth round. Afterwards, a brawl broke out which saw “The Eagle” attack McGregor’s corner, and Nurmagomedov’s corner attacked McGregor. There is just too much there between the two men to not run the fight back. The one hurdle standing in the way at the moment would be interim champion, Justin Gaethje. Gaethje and Nurmagomedov are scheduled to fight later in the summer to early in the fall.

Conor McGregor is the biggest star in UFC history and there’s not really a close second. McGregor soared to fame and became the first fighter in UFC history to hold a belt in two weight classes simultaneously. After he destroyed Eddie Alvarez to win the lightweight title at UFC 205, McGregor jumped to the world of boxing to fight Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match which netted McGregor a $100 million payday. After the Mayweather fight, many wondered if McGregor would ever return to the sport of MMA. The UFC stripped him of both of his titles and the divisions moved on. Nurmagomedov won the lightweight title while McGregor sat on the sidelines. McGregor would make headlines for his actions outside the octagon which included attacking a bus that held the lightweight champion, Nurmagomedov. There was so much heat between the two men leading up to their fight at UFC 229. Following the loss, McGregor stepped away from the sport for another lengthy layoff. Throughout 2019, McGregor seemed to be getting back to his roots. He was starting to get his personal life in order, and he seemed to be dedicating himself back to the sport that made him a superstar. It was announced that McGregor would return against Donald Cerrone back in January. McGregor never looked better, destroying Cowboy Cerrone in just 40 seconds. There is no question as to what is the biggest fight the UFC can possibly make. No disrespect to Justin Gaethje, but the biggest fight the UFC can make is Conor McGregor getting his second chance at the undisputed champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Obviously, Gaethje will get the next shot as the interim champion, but I can promise you that the UFC front office will be praying for a Nurmagomedov victory. A Nurmagomedov/McGregor rematch for the UFC lightweight championship would be the biggest fight in the history of the sport.

UFC: Who will Conor McGregor fight next?

Conor McGregor, UFC

UFC fans all around the world have been pondering the question, “Who is Conor McGregor going to fight next?” The former two-division champion made his triumphant return to action back in January, where he starched fan favorite Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds with a devastating combination of shoulder strikes and a high kick. It was a great way to kick off the year, and Conor made the statement that he would love to fight several times in 2020.

Well, the world encountered a global pandemic that has really thrown a wrench in McGregor’s original plans. It’s becoming clear to me that the UFC was going to have Conor fight the winner of the Tony Ferguson/Khabib Nurmagomedov fight that was originally scheduled for April. That fight, of course, fell through, and Tony Ferguson fought Justin Gaethje instead. Of course, Gaethje spoiled the party by upsetting Ferguson to be crowned Interim Lightweight Champion of the UFC.

Conor McGregor has been extremely active on Twitter, calling out people and saying he is ready to fight. With that in mind, let’s look at four men who could be a possibility for the Notorious one’s next fight.

Nate Diaz

You just had to know that we were starting with this. Imagine a Conor McGregor/Nate Diaz trilogy fight with nobody in the stands on the UFC’s Fight Island. You could hear every word that these two rivals would be saying to each other. To me, this is the fight that makes the most sense from a business perspective for Conor McGregor. It is clear that Conor McGregor would like to get back to UFC gold, but there’s a roadblock at 155. Interim Champ, Justin Gaethje, is currently waiting for his shot at Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Those two are not likely to fight until September, and it’s highly unlikely that McGregor will sit out until the winter to get his shot at the belt. That is where Nate Diaz comes into the equation.

The two rivals have a history, and it needs to be settled once and for all. Nate Diaz shocked the world back in 2016 when he took a fight against Conor McGregor on short notice. After getting touched up early, Diaz found his groove and took it to a tired McGregor. Diaz would go on to submit McGregor in the second round via rear-naked choke. The two immediately ran that fight back a few months later, and it was a back and forth classic. McGregor took that close fight by Majority Decision. With the two fan favorites currently 1-1 in their series, it would just make the most sense to run this one back a third time. There are no easy fights for Conor McGregor right now, but arguably the most winnable option for him would be Nate Diaz. He has the blueprint for beating Nate Diaz, and I think he would if they were to fight a third time. Conor could make the most amount of money in this fight, and it would be another big win for him as he awaits the winner of the Nurmagomedov/Gaethje fight in September.

Jorge Masvidal

Who would not want to see this fight happen? This was the hot fight that everyone was talking about after Conor McGregor stopped Donald Cerrone back in January. Jorge Masvidal was in the front row for that fight wearing a robe that matched the robe Conor McGregor wore in his fight with Floyd Mayweather. Masvidal was coming off of his victory for the BMF Title over Nate Diaz.

Nobody in the sport had a better year in 2019 than Jorge Masvidal. Masvidal knocked out Darren Till in England, knocked Ben Askren out in 5 seconds, then beat Nate Diaz and had The Rock wrap a BMF title around his waist to cap it off. Masvidal has a personality that would sell, and I bet he’d be willing to put that BMF title up for grabs in a fight with Conor McGregor. Masvidal used to fight at 155, so there wouldn’t be a huge size discrepancy between the two men. It’s a tougher fight for Conor than Nate Diaz would be, but it’s another fight that Conor could win. This fight would be a standup war, and one thing people can’t deny is how good Conor McGregor is on his feet. He’s one of the best in the business at gauging the range and timing shots when he’s on top of his game. Not sure if either man would get a finish in this fight, but it would be a fun war to watch.

Justin Gaethje

This would be the most personal of all the options for Conor McGregor. McGregor recently turned to Twitter to call out Gaethje where he mentioned Gaethje’s comments about McGregor’s skills as a father. This is a fight that Conor wants really badly, and it would be a fight that would give him at least some gold if he’s able to win. As mentioned above, Gaethje is currently waiting for his shot against Khabib for the Undisputed Lightweight title. However, there is one factor that could throw everything off. There have been many reports out of Russia on the condition of Khabib’s trainer and father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. Khabib is a very private person when it comes to his family, but one thing that isn’t private is his love for his father. The elder Nurmagomedov is currently battling for his life due to Covid-19. Recent reports have suggested he’s either in a medically induced coma or he’s on life support. With everything going on with his father, I’m not sure Khabib is going to be fighting anytime soon. If that turns out to be the case, you will likely see the UFC move to book Conor McGregor vs Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title.

On paper, this would seem to be a fight that would give Conor McGregor trouble with Gaethje’s ability to wrestle, but that is just not Gaethje’s style, which will play right into Conor McGregor’s hands. Justin Gaethje has insane power, and he’s very fast, but Conor McGregor is not Tony Ferguson when it comes to striking. In a pure striking match, I do not believe Justin Gaethje could beat Conor McGregor unless he knocks him out. I think the diversity of Conor’s striking techniques, along with his ability to time straight counters, would give Gaethje fits throughout the evening. Eddie Alvarez, who fought both men, believes that McGregor would finish Justin Gaethje. Styles make matchups, and this is not a matchup that would excitement as a Gaethje fan unless he said he would mix in his wrestling, which we all know he wouldn’t.

Kamaru Usman

Wouldn’t this be something? Conor McGregor getting a shot to become the first man in UFC history to hold a title in three different weight divisions, would be huge business for the UFC but a nightmare of a fight for Conor McGregor. Khabib Nurmagomedov is a nightmare matchup for Conor McGregor, and it showed in their first fight. To be fair, I don’t believe we saw the best version of Conor McGregor in that fight, but either way, it’s a tough matchup. Kamaru Usman is like Khabib except much bigger and stronger.

This would be one fight where even the die-hard Conor McGregor fans would have to look at it and question the odds. The Nigerian Nightmare would immediately shoot once the opening bell sounded. If he couldn’t take Conor down, he’d likely lean on him by the cage and engage in some dirty boxing. We’ve seen Conor McGregor gas in fights before, and this is a fight that would have the potential to zap his energy exceptionally quickly. I’m not sure there’s a worse matchup for Conor in the UFC right now than Kamaru Usman.

Would it be a huge fight for the legacy of Conor McGregor? Absolutely, because no man has ever held a title in three weight classes, but the mountain he’d have to climb is a steep and tall one. The only way McGregor wins the title in this fight would be to stop Usman early with a clean shot. Does Conor have the pop to take out Usman at 170? There is no question that Conor McGregor is a better striker than Kamaru Usman, but this isn’t a kickboxing match. In the world of MMA, this is a fight I do not like if I’m a Conor McGregor fan.

Who will it be?

Thinking through everything, it still makes the most sense for Conor McGregor to fight Nate Diaz in his next fight. The history is there, and it’s the fight that makes the most sense. Let’s hope and pray that Khabib’s father recovers so his life can get back to normal and as fight fans we get to see the Nurmagomedov/Gaethje fight in September. If Conor can beat Nate Diaz, he can turn his attention to the winner of the September title fight. Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal need to fight for the 170-pound title. It’s the fight that makes the most sense at that weight class, and it’s a fight that needs to happen. If Conor McGregor is able to capture the 155-pound title before 2021, the UFC could then turn their attention to doing a champion versus champion fight in Q1 of 2021 with Conor McGregor facing off against whoever is the welterweight champion.