Nearly two days after Conor McGregor beautifully knocked out Eddie Alvarez and became the first UFC fighter to ever lay claim to two belts, it’s time to look ahead at what’s next.
For McGregor, this question is harder to answer than usual. In the past, he’s faked retirement, popped around weight divisions and flirted with the WWE. This time he’s thrown another wrench into the machine. At his post-fight presser, McGregor said he wouldn’t fight again unless he gets an ownership stake in the UFC.
It’s hard to tell if he’s serious or if it’s all bluster. And it’s equally hard to tell if the promotion would allow him to buy in or if Dana White and company will make a point that the UFC is bigger than any one fighter. Either way, expect this to be resolved to McGregor’s liking. The UFC simply can’t afford to offend it’s biggest cash cow. And once it’s settled, expect to see McGregor in the cage again.
But who will be in the other corner? A handful of names have been thrown around in the past day and a half but the most intriguing is Nate Diaz. McGregor’s win over Alvarez gave him the 155-pound belt, the weight at which Diaz typically fights. That means the UFC could set up the decisive third fight in this trilogy and it would be for the title.
Given how much interest there was the first two times these guys fought, there’s a decent shot McGregor vs. Diaz 3 would break the two million PPV buy mark for the first time in UFC history. As long as the UFC was willing to give Diaz a title shot ahead of the more deserving Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, the promotion could be in for a giant payday.
As would Diaz and as he’s made clear, cash rules everything around him. That means only McGregor would have to get on board for the fight, which might be a challenge. Not only has he been fighting at a breakneck pace the past year, but as he announced over the weekend, he’s about to become a father and wants to take some time off.
Of course, his baby won’t be born until May, which means he’d have six more months to squeeze in another fight before taking an extended break. Given the paycheck he’d be sure to draw for taking on Diaz one more time, it might make sense to get back in the Octagon before baby McGregor arrives. After all, diapers are really expensive.