Conor McGregor is expected to return to the Octagon, but who will he fight next?
Names are constantly being bandied about. WWE executives haven't been shy in expressing their interest in McGregor joining the likes of Ronda Rousey in taking part in their promotion in some capacity. There is chatter about another boxing match for the UFC lightweight champion.
But really, what is next?
“There are all these different things that pop up in the media – some true, some not true,” McGregor's manager Audie Attar said to Sky Sports (per TheMacLife) while at a speaking engagement in London.
“As it relates to mixed martial arts, I think Conor has been clear that he wants to come back and fight for the UFC. So there is no question that is going to happen.”
While McGregor himself has mentioned several options, including future bouts in boxing, he has steadfastly indicated that he intends to return to the Octagon for his next bout. It's possible that he could squeak another UFC bout in this year, which would almost have to be at UFC 219 on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas, but as the days tick by, a 2017 date becomes less and less likely.
Even if it doesn't happen in 2017, it appears that McGregor is likely to return under the UFC banner relatively soon. The bigger question mark is whom he might face. Lots of chatter has centered on Nate Diaz, but Tony Ferguson recently claimed the interim version of McGregor's belt, so it is going to be difficult to deny him a shot at the champion.
If anyone could deny Ferguson, however, McGregor would be the only UFC fighter with enough clout to make the demand.
“Who that is going to be and what is next is still to be determined. We are just starting to talk and explore all the options. But Conor is a draw. He does record-breaking gates and pay-per-views,” said Attar.
“At the end of the day, it does not matter what he does – whether it is WWE or the UFC – he is going to have a record-breaking event,” he continued.
“Tony came out victorious. I represent Tony (as well as McGregor), so I was really happy for Tony to accomplish that. You have the trilogy fight with Nate Diaz. You even have boxers like Manny Pacquiao knocking on the door. I’ve said this before in many interviews – Conor has earned the right [to choose] and the numbers don’t lie. He is weighing his options. He is looking at all the different options and opportunities that are there for him but there is no question that he wants to come back and compete.”