The biggest fight in combat sports is over, and it definitely lived up to the hype. McGregor actually showed some boxing skills. The over/under bet for most punches landed in a round by McGregor was 7.5. He hit the over in every round except for the last round when he was TKO’d. Who would have thought that would be such an easy over to hit? The over/under for total punches landed by McGregor in the fight was 29.5. He landed a total of 111 for the fight. Basically what I am getting at with these over/under totals is, McGregor did way better than ANYONE thought. Even people who wanted McGregor to win or thought McGregor could win, he did better than even they expected! So now that Mayweather is 50-0 and is most likely done and no rematch will happen, what is next for McGregor? Does he go back to the UFC like he said he would? Does he defend his belt? Or does he take another boxing match? Below are his next possible opponents and ranked in order from least likely to happen to most likely.
5. Boxing Match with Paulie Malignaggi
Malignaggi was in the spotlight over the recent months because he quit as McGregor’s sparring partner after photos were leaked that Malignaggi says were released to make him look bad. Make Malignaggi look bad? Huh? Who cares what Malignaggi looks like in McGregor’s camp. I’m pretty sure the photos were released more for the reason to make McGregor look good than to make Malignaggi look bad. Anyways. Malignaggi said “I think the fans want it and I think its a very sellable fight.” First off, every McGregor fight is a sellable fight. Secondly, I’m not sure the fans want it, most of them don’t even know who you are. The date that is loosely connected to this fight is March 17, 2018 at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. Malignaggi has said he will make it a winner take all fight. He said he is willing to fight McGregor for free if he were to lose. This again makes no sense as we all know McGregor’s main focus is to make as much money in as little time as he can. McGregor will fight before March 2018, this is low on the totem pole of McGregor’s next fight for multiple obvious reasons.
4. UFC Lightweight Championship Fight with Kevin Lee
Lee is currently the 7th ranked Lightweight and is fighting Tony Ferguson at UFC 216 (more on that in a moment). This is Lee’s first big fight against a top ranked opponent. He has been able to win his last five fights very easily but only one was against a ranked opponent (Michael Chiesa #10). Even if Lee beats Ferguson I don’t think he will get a title shot just yet. Which means he isn’t ready for McGregor yet.
3. UFC Lightweight Championship Fight with Tony Ferguson
Ferguson definitely deserves a Lightweight Championship fight. The problem with making this happen is Ferguson is fighting Kevin Lee on October 7, 2017 as the headline of UFC 216. McGregor I believe will fight before the end of the year. So for this fight to happen he will have to beat Lee without taking much damage to avoid a medical suspension. The odds are definitely against Ferguson to get his title shot before the end of the year. But if Ferguson beats Lee he will definitely get a shot at the Lightweight belt next, just isn’t guaranteed to be McGregor at that time.
2. UFC Fight with Nate Diaz
Diaz is currently ranked the #6 Lightweight in the UFC. Does he deserve a title fight? Absolutely not. But now that McGregor is the Lightweight champion there is no doubt that if this third fight happens between these two they will make it a championship fight to make the headline even bigger than just McGregor-Diaz 3. These two are great shit talkers and really turned a nothing fight into the biggest UFC fight at that time. I think it would be a huge slap in the face to the rest of the division to give a guy who has only fought McGregor over the past two years a title shot though. But really who can argue with not wanting to see this fight and possibly making it the best rivalry in UFC history.
1. UFC Lightweight Championship fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov
This is by far the most likely fight for McGregor to take next. Both fighters would be able to fight at UFC 219 on December 30, 2017 in Las Vegas. The New Year’s weekend fight is always a huge event and what better way to make this happen than to put McGregor and the one guy everyone thinks can beat McGregor on the headline. Nurmagomedov has already called McGregor out on his twitter after his fight with Mayweather, but at this point who hasn’t? Putting Nurmagomedoz’s undefeated record on the line against the Lightweight champion McGregor is the headline that needs to be made for New Year’s weekend.