Conor McGregor fought Floyd Mayweather in a boxing ring Saturday night.
That sentence would have seemed ludicrous just a few months ago, when the idea of the UFC star challenging the undefeated boxer at his own sport seemed nothing more than a pipe dream. Yet there was Mayweather at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, celebrating a 10th-round technical knockout victory over McGregor after a surprisingly entertaining bout that brought an incredible windfall for all parties involved.
Of course, it only was a matter of minutes after the superfight before an obvious question arose: What’s next?
Does McGregor, a 29-year-old UFC superstar still in his prime, immediately return to the octagon after his boxing foray? If so, in what capacity? Is this really the end of the line for Mayweather? For now, we only can speculate, and we’ll start with McGregor, who still is an active fighter with several options ahead of him. Here are his three most likely scenarios.
1. Title unification bout. Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee are scheduled to fight for the interim lightweight belt at UFC 216 on Oct. 7 in Las Vegas. In theory, the winner of that bout would take on McGregor in a title unification bout, which could occur late this year or early next year. This probably is McGregor’s most straightforward option.
2. Third belt. McGregor already owns the lightweight and featherweight belts (although he technically was stripped of his featherweight belt due to inactivity) and could go for a third belt by challenging welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. The Notorious lost his welterweight debut against Nate Diaz at UFC 196 but won the rematch at UFC 202, so he could stake his legacy as one of the most versatile fighters ever by earning belts in three separate divisions.
3. Money fight against Georges St-Pierre. McGregor got a taste of a true “superfight” Saturday night, and a showdown with GSP would be UFC’s closest equivalent. The 36-year-old Canadian retired in 2013 as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, but he’s expected to make a triumphant return in New York at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 against Michael Bisping. If St-Pierre takes care of business, there will be extremely high interest in a showdown with McGregor featuring the two brightest stars in the sport.
These aren’t the only options for The Notorious; he could pursue a trilogy fight with Nate Diaz, take another swing at boxing or even UFC, or — wait for it — pursue a rematch with Mayweather.
That’s right: There already are odds on Mayweather vs. McGregor 2, with Money coming in as a -2000 favorite, per OddsShark.
Right now, though, a rematch seems like a virtual uncertainty. Mayweather firmly stated that Saturday was his last fight, and at 40 years old with a 50-0 record and mountains of cash, he has no reason to fight again. He certainly wouldn’t fight anytime within the next year or two, and it’s almost impossible to imagine he’d fight at age 42 or 43 after surpassing Rocky Marciano’s record of most wins without a loss.
That said, we thought this fight never would happen, and if there’s enough money on the table for a rematch… Well, we’ll get back to you on that.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Images
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