After 15 months out of the Octagon, Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor returns to face Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone as the main event at UFC 246. Despite being submitted in his last fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov, which won the Russian the UFC Lightweight Championship, McGregor is the overwhelming favourite in the latest Conor McGregor v Donald Cerrone odds. But once January 18th is out of the way, who else could we see the Dubliner up against? Let’s take a look at some of the names in contention.
If McGregor beats Cerrone in their upcoming clash at welterweight level, the Irishman could well face the current UFC Welterweight Champion, Usman. ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ won the title last March when he beat Tyron Woodley via unanimous decision, and defended his title against Colby Covington just last month. He boasts a record of 16 wins from 17 matches and has fought in the UFC for four years.
Usman doesn’t consider McGregor a threat and when recently asked about a potential fight, he responded: “I stop him in 3. I will let it go to 3 but then I stop him. They see the way that I fight from fight to fight and they think that they can measure me based on that. I bring something different to each and every fight. I fight each and every fight the way I want to fight.”
Currently #2 in the UFC welterweight rankings, Covington may have lost to Usman at UFC 245, but prior to that, he boasted a record of 15 wins from 16 fights and had been on a seven-match winning streak before that latest defeat. He previously held the interim UFC Welterweight Championship. If McGregor beats Cerrone at welterweight level, the most natural path would be a fight against Covington, with victory setting up a Championship battle against Usman.
Watching the Covington v Usman fight at the back-end of last year, it looks as though McGregor is committed to pursuing the welterweight level. He commented: “I liked the look of Kamaru Usman. I liked the look of Colby [Covington]. I’m open to it all at 170.”
He’s one of the hottest properties in the UFC, and last year was a great year for Masvidal. Not only did the American win Performance of the Night and Fight of the Night beating Brit Darren Till by KO, but he recorded the quickest knockout in UFC history, defeating Ben Askren after just five seconds, and later won the BMF belt against Nate Diaz. Masvidal is a fellow welterweight and has expressed an interest in meeting the winner of the McGregor v Cerrone fight, so watch this space.
Despite being defeated by the Russian back in October 2018, McGregor fancies his chances once more – even if he is making the step-up from lightweight in his upcoming match. A rematch is surely looking more likely after the pair goaded each other on social media and UFC chief Dana White has expressed McGregor’s interest of another crack at Khabib.
White told TMZ Sports: “Here’s the thing, realistically, Conor believe Khabib versus Tony Ferguson will not happen. We’ve tried to do that fight many, many times. Conor believes it won’t happen. We’ll see what happens after this. But Conor is very focused on that rematch with Khabib.”
There’s a lot of bad blood between the two, following their post-match brawl, which led to fines and suspensions. But surely there’s one place to settle it once and for all, and that’s the Octagon.