In just over a week, the talented and brash Irishman, Conor McGregor, will once again lock horns with Nate Diaz in their eagerly anticipated rematch. Win or lose, what will McGregor do next?
If he losses, his path seems fairly clear, he will probably remain humble as he did after his last loss, he will return to the Featherweight division for a rematch with the interim title holder Jose Aldo, and he will attempt to reassert his dominance over that division.
However, if he wins, then the path seems less clear. There will be a huge pressure on him to return to the Featherweight division in order to rematch with Jose Aldo. However, McGregor knows there are higher drawing PPV earnings to be made with champions in other divisions and we all know that McGregor likes his money.
I doubt he relinquishes his title; that won’t sit well with him. However, he could claim that he has beaten everyone that there is to beat at that weight and he is trying to find some stiffer competition. With Frankie Edgar’s loss to Aldo at UFC 200, he legitimately can say he is the best in that division. We all know how hard it is for him to get down to that weight and, after spending so long walking around at his weight now to prepare for Nate Diaz, he may decide it is not in his best interests to go back down.
He could go to the Lightweight division. Eddie Alvarez is calling him out at every opportunity. In fact, everyone likes calling McGregor out, and that’s because they all know that he secures them the largest payday by a large margin. However, it is a reasonable matchup that is better suited for him and, I believe, it gives him a realistic opportunity at further cementing his legacy, which is another aspect of his public image and career that McGregor values.
He could also remain at Welterweight and seek some challengers there. He would be vastly undersized in that weight class, and it is not a move I expect him to take. However, he would not be the first fighter to fall due to his own ego.
If he beats Diaz, and Tyrone Woodley somehow secures his ill-deserved fight against George St. Pierre, then the stars could potentially align for GSP to fight McGregor. Let’s be clear, Conor is going to do everything he can to make sure he does what he wants, and what he wants is a huge payday. He will have paid particular attention to Brock Lesnar’s earnings from UFC 200 and will know that GSP will help boost the profile with the size of his fanbase that he brings to the table.
We don’t have too wait too long to find out, and I am pretty sure the post-fight press conference will be its own highlight show. But if Conor McGregor wins the rematch with Diaz, then the MMA world really is his oyster if it is not already.
(Chris Hunt of Arundel, England is a new MMATorch contributor. He got hooked on MMA after watching UFC 114 featuring “Rampage” Jackson vs. Rashad Evans and from there, he says, “I spent a ridiculous amount of money and time watching every event from UFC 1 up to the present so I could understand the history of the sport, the fighters, the weight divisions and everything else in between. It was the style of fighting that drew me in, in order to see what martial art was the most effective, and from there, the fighters themselves, their story, their training and the sacrifices that they go through.”)