Where does Conor McGregor’s next fight take place, in an MMA cage or a boxing ring and against whom?
FRANK HYDEN, MMATorch Columnist
I would be stunned if McGregor fights in the UFC anytime soon. He’s going to want a lot more money than he was getting in his previous UFC fights. Will the UFC pony up and pay him? Maybe, though I doubt it, but there’s also the problem of who does he fight and how much do they want? We’ve already heard a coach for Nate Diaz say that they’d want $20-30 million to fight McGregor. What if the UFC has McGregor fight Tony Ferguson or Edson Barboza? How much money would they want? And if any of those guys were to beat McGregor, they’d want at least that same amount of money per fight going forward. Even if they lose, you just made more from one fight than you made from possibly your entire career, or at least the last 10-20 fights.
I think it’s just a simple money issue. There’s a standard right now, a ceiling, that defines what a fighter makes per fight. The UFC isn’t going to want to double or triple that, especially when they don’t think any of these other fighters are going to bring in the business that McGregor does. McGregor can make a lot more money boxing. I think he fights Pauli Malignaggi next. If he wins that fight, he’s done with the UFC for a very long time, if not for good. If he loses, then he comes back to the UFC and works to build himself back up.
JOHN HARRIS, MMATorch Contributor
I say if McGregor does return to combat sports at all it will be inside the UFC octagon. Many are predicting a third fight with Nate Diaz. I see McGregor finally defending his 155lb. lightweight title against Tony Ferguson after Ferguson wins the interim lightweight title fight against Kevin Lee at UFC 216. McGregor may want to satisfy Dana
White for allowing him to make a ton of money with the Mayweather fight so he will come back for a 155 lbs title fight against Ferguson maybe Super Bowl weekend.
ZACK HEYDORN, MMATorch Contributor
Conor McGregor’s next fight will 100 percent take place inside an MMA cage. That had to be a part of the negotiation between Dana White and team McGregor as they worked toward the Mayweather fight. White said, I’ll allow you to do this, if you guarantee to come back in 2017. I see McGregor back in the octagon on the December UFC PPV and his opponent will be Nate Diaz. It’s the biggest fight UFC can put on and why not put that on when interest in McGregor is at an all-time high. Plus, Diaz is now a bit of a draw in his own right and hasn’t fought in close to a year. UFC needs this fight to happen and when it does, it’ll be massive.
JOHN KIM, MMATorch Contributor
Conor’s next fight is in the UFC. I think he fights Nate Diaz for the third time. Conor has said he wants to fight before the end of the year. Kevin Lee and Tony Ferguson are fighting for the interim Lightweight Title at UFC 216 in October. That’s a very short turn around for the winner of that fight to unify the Lightweight Championship. So the Diaz fight is the only fight that makes sense if Conor wants to fight in December.
RICK MONSEY, MMATorch Contributor
McGregor’s stock is higher now than it’s ever been. His losing effort against Floyd Mayweather did little to nothing to hurt his credibility as an athlete or, more importantly, to the UFC as draw.
McGregor has a future in boxing if he desires it. Pauli Malignaggi sure wants that fight. In fact, Malignaggi is so eager at a chance to punch McGregor in the face he has offered to fight him for free. There’s no rush for McGregor to put the 8-ounce gloves back on. He already proved his point. Let Malignaggi keep hyping that potential grudge match and if McGregor comes back to boxing that could be fun. But that shouldn’t be what’s next for him.
Conor McGregor’s next fight should be in an MMA cage. More specifically, back in the UFC octagon. It’s going to cost the UFC a pretty penny to acquire the services of McGregor now. That being said, the UFC would stand to make a lot back and then some if they choose the right opponent.
Should Conor McGregor defend his lightweight championship against the winner of Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee? Many would argue yes, but the UFC isn’t guaranteeing that will happen. So why make that bout between Ferguson vs. Lee for an interim championship in first place? Money. To make money on UFC 216 PPV buys, even though it’s not going to really help that PPV out much. A big payday is the same reason that Conor McGregor will most likely not face either of those competitors next.
The UFC should take advantage of McGregor’s big fight status and put him in the trilogy fight against Nate Diaz. It would be huge. Sure, Dana White has said that McGregor wants to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov in Russia next. While that would be cool, maybe it should happen down the road. For now the real money fight in MMA is McGregor vs. Diaz 3. Book it soon, so we can see it before 2017 is over.
MICHAEL GROCKE, MMATorch Contributor
Hopefully we see McGregor in a UFC cage before the calendar turns to 2018. My preference is for him to fight Nate Diaz for the third time. It’s the fight that will garner the most fan interest as well as PPV buys. There isn’t another fight the UFC can make that will even come close. The issue is finances. Nate Diaz’s camp is campaigning for a $20-$30 million payday, and who knows what McGregor will demand. Ideally these conversations have already begun and all three sides are working towards an agreement.
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