Conor McGregor hasn’t fought inside the UFC octagon since he was submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight championship at UFC 229 in October 2018. The 31-year-old Irish multi-millionaire is by far the most popular and wealthiest mixed martial arts superstar in history. And upon his return the betting apps will be in high demand as UFC fans from around the world try to cash in at the sportsbooks. Here are the top 5 possible matchups for The Notorious one’s return.
5. Justin Gaethje
Conor recently said this fight had been in the works but got canceled. Gaethje is a dangerous balls-to-the-wall striker with 17 of his 20 professional victories coming by way of knockout. Despite being a former NCAA Division I All-American, Gaethje’s bread and butter are his dangerous hands and he would make a great comeback fight for Conor to see how he would deal with the pressure.
4. Tony Ferguson
“El Cucuy” is one of the lightweight division’s most talented fighters and he hasn’t lost a fight since 2012. He’s beaten some of the best in the game including, most recently, Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis both by TKO. A fight between Ferguson and McGregor has to happen at some point for both of their legacies. His well-rounded game would be a huge test for the Irishman.
3. Jose Aldo
Conor stopped Aldo’s incredible featherweight title run in just 13-seconds back in December 2015 and many people think it may have just been a fluke. It’s true that Aldo’s career hasn’t been quite the same since then and he is coming off a decision loss to Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 237 in May. Aldo would be a great comeback fight for Conor but not at featherweight. If this fight happens again it should be at lightweight where Aldo could have a fresh start in a new division if he wins.
2. Nate Diaz
They’ve fought twice before and they’ve each won one. Diaz’s recent beating of Anthony Pettis after a three-year layoff proved he’s more popular than ever and it got Conor itching for a trilogy fight with the Stockton brawler. Both their previous fights have been at welterweight and that’s not really the best weight for McGregor. If this fight takes place again the McGregor camp should be advocating it take place at lightweight. With Diaz and McGregor’s combined star power a trilogy PPV between these two could set viewership records.
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
This fight must happen at some point and it’s the fight Conor most wants to run back. But is he ready for it as his first return match? Probably not if we’re being honest. Khabib’s wrestling is so dominating and he showed a huge deficit in Conor’s skillset in their first fight. Not to mention he also dropped Conor with a punch. Conor could focus on nothing but wrestling for the next five years and still probably wouldn’t be able to make up for the deficit he has against the likes of Khabib. Can Conor defeat Khabib? It’s certainly possible, but he will have to find a way to stay off his back if it’s ever going to happen.
Well there you have it, Conor’s top 5 possible fights for his return. The former two-division champ is eyeing a late 2019 return following a hand injury from earlier this year. Another possible opponent as honorable mention is Frankie Edgar who Conor also named recently as a possibility because of his similarities to Khabib. Make no mistake, at some point Conor and Khabib will have to dance again and whoever the Irishman fights next will be one step closer towards that eventual rematch.