NEW YORK — Conor McGregor made history at UFC 205, and now the question on everyone’s mind is simple: What’s next for The Notorious?
After knocking out Eddie Alvarez in the second round of the lightweight championship bout at Madison Square Garden, McGregor became the first UFC fighter to simultaneously hold belts in two different weight classes.
The Notorious has several options going forward, but he might have to decide which title he wants to defend between his featherweight and lightweight belts. UFC president Dana White confirmed during the post-fight press conference early Sunday morning that McGregor would have to relinquish one of his belts after UFC 205.
McGregor stayed mum about his future fight opponents, instead announcing he will become a father in early 2017 and he’d like to spend time with his family. He also declared he wants an ownership stake in UFC because of the value he brings to the company.
So, since McGregor didn’t want to talk about his next opponent, we will. Here are a few fighters we could see challenge McGregor for one of his belts.
The interim featherweight champion has feuded with the UFC lately for allowing McGregor to fight at other weight classes rather than try to unify the featherweight title.
Aldo lost to McGregor at UFC 194 via knockout in just 13 seconds less than a year ago, and if McGregor does decide to return to featherweight, he most likely would get a rematch with Aldo to try to unify the belt.
However, it doesn’t seem like McGregor has any interest in fighting Aldo.
One of the best performances Saturday night was Nurmagomedov’s dominating third-round submission victory over Michael Johnson in the prelims.
The Dagestani Cowboy improved to 24-0 in MMA with the victory, and he used his post-fight interview as an opportunity to take a shot at McGregor and ask for a lightweight title fight.
“I want to stay humble, but I have to talk,” Nurmagomedov said. “Ireland only has 6 million people. Russia has 150 million. I want to fight your chicken. Let’s go! Let’s go!”
With an unblemished record, Nurmagomedov absolutely deserves a title shot, but his inactivity over the last couple of years might keep him from getting in the octagon with McGregor. Saturday night was just Nurmagomedov’s second fight since April 2014, and McGregor cited that as one of the reasons why he might not fight him.
“I need to see active,” McGregor said. “I need to see activity. I need to see consistency. I need to see me. If you want me to come change your life, if you want me to come pick you up, you better have some damn reasons for me to do that.”
Neither one of the first two Diaz-McGregor fights were for a belt. How amazing would it be if the third fight in the trilogy was for all the marbles?
Diaz has fought plenty of times at 155 pounds, and he hasn’t had a shot at the belt since he lost the lightweight title fight to Benson Henderson back in 2012.
A lot has changed since then. Diaz is a household name in the UFC world and is the only man to defeat McGregor since 2010. He definitely has earned a title shot.
One champion-versus-champion fight was fun. How about another?
Welterweight champion Woodley welcomed the idea of fighting McGregor during the UFC 205 post-fight press conference, but he said it would be a bad idea on McGregor’s part because of his size.
The two exchanged words on Twitter following Friday’s weigh-in after McGregor made a comment about wanting “all the belts” during Thursday’s pre-fight press conference.
The anticipation for this fight would reach unprecedented heights if White doesn’t force McGregor to strip any of his belts, meaning The Notorious could have a shot to simultaneously hold three belts.
Now, wouldn’t that be something?
Thumbnail photo via Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports Images