Conor McGregor will have revenge on his mind on August 20, when he faces Nate Diaz in a rematch at UFC 202, but regardless of the outcome, the big question is: what’s next for ‘Notorious’?
The Irishman is not short of choices, with his defeat to Diaz doing little to quell his popularity with fans and marketers alike.
In all likelihood the 28-year-old will return to the featherweight division after his bout with Diaz, and put his title on the line in what will be his first title defence since he defeated Jose Aldo in 13 seconds at UFC 194 in December last year.
Since then, Aldo has become the interim featherweight champion after triumphing over Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 last month, and he is now in line for a rematch.
While there was a lot of bad blood between McGregor and Aldo in the lead-up to their fight at UFC 194, the Irishman admitted that he was glad to see the Brazilian bounce back after losing the title.
“To see Aldo come back and win that fight against Frankie, I was happy for Aldo,” McGregor told reporters. “When you see a long-time champion get knocked down like that, the way I knocked him out. I said it then, I felt sorry for him a little bit. Then on top of that Frankie’s team, they were all talking (expletive), that fat coach who holds mitts, he was talking a lot. He’s still talking (expletive).
“That’s was why I was there (at UFC 200), I wanted to see, if this (expletive) comes through this and can do what he’s saying, well then it’s on. For now, Aldo’s taken that belt again. I was scheduled to fight Aldo many times. We had a two-year media run, I spent so much time with that man and then he pulled out. Then we finally got into it and it took me one shot to the crown to shut his lights out.”
Another possible route McGregor could take is facing Diaz for a third time if he defeats the Stockton native at UFC 202.
McGregor conceded that the fight may not happen right away, but he made it clear that he is definitely interested in a third fight with Diaz no matter what happens in their second bout.
“100-percent,” he said. “Of course. maybe not straightaway, but most certainly this will be a trilogy fight. Me and the boy have something and it ain’t finished yet.”
The third option, perhaps the least likely one, is that McGregor take on lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.
After his impressive first round knockout win over Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night 90 last month, Alvarez has made it known that he wants to face the winner of the McGregor-Diaz fight. Should McGregor emerge victorious, he could be presented with an opportunity to win the lightweight title and become the first fighter in UFC history to hold two different titles at the same time.
McGregor was on the verge of fighting for the lightweight title at UFC 196, but Dos Anjos pulled out of the bout with a broken foot, which led to Diaz being called up as his replacement.
“I don’t know what I’m thinking. Right now, I’m prepared for a war and that’s it. [Nine] days out, let’s (expletive) bring it,” McGregor said. “He’s been talking about full camp this and that.
“I’ve only had ten days to prepare, if I had a full camp he wouldn’t even be able to hit me. Well let’s see what that’s about, let’s see what all that’s about.”
Despite having so many options to choose from, the reigning UFC featherweight champion is solely focused on avenging his shock loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 in March.
“I haven’t really spoke about it to anyone about what’s next. Who knows what’s next,” McGregor said. “Right now I’m [nine] days away from a war and I’m ready for the war. So that’s all I’m thinking of right now. So let’s have this war.”