Conor McGregor returns in January at UFC 246

With Justin Gaethje fighting at UFC 249, what’s next for Conor McGregor?

What’s next for Conor McGregor?

UFC 249 now as a new main event and it won’t feature Khabib Nurmagomedov or Conor McGregor. Today the UFC announced that Tony Ferguson will fight Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight championship.

With Gaethje now fighting in a few weeks, this screws up McGregor’s 2020 plans as the Irishman was in talks with the UFC to fight Gaethje in July.

McGregor wants to fight three times this year and it seemed like his route was clear. He won his comeback fight in January against Donald Cerrone, and if he beat Gaethje this summer it would have set up a showdown with whoever the lightweight champion was in late 2020.

So now where does McGregor go from here? Here’s a look at some possible fights for the UFC’s biggest star.

#1. Khabib Nurmagomedov in August
Nurmagomedov previously said if UFC 249 was postponed, he would fight Ferguson in August following Ramadan. With Nurmagomedov giving August as a return date, that makes a possible McGregor rematch a legit possibly for the current champ.

I know what everyone’s thinking. If Ferguson and Gaethje are fighting for the interim title, doesn’t that make the winner next for Nurmagomedov? The answer is no. Look no farther than when Colby Covington was the interim welterweight champion while Tyron Woodley was champion and the two never fought. Same goes when McGregor was the lightweight champion and Ferguson was the interim champion.

Also who knows how Ferguson and Gaethje will go down. If it’s a five round war, the winner will be sidelined for awhile leaving Nurmagomedov without a dance partner and opening the spot for McGregor.

Oh and there’s the obvious answer as to how Conor McGregor jumps the line. The money. He’s a draw and rematches always sell. Especially given the bad blood between McGregor and Nurmagomedov.

#2. Nate Diaz at International Fight Week in July
What’s better than a rematch? A trilogy between two of the best trash talkers in the sport. McGregor and Diaz have already done great business during their first two fights so a third would be huge. Ever since their last fight, fans have been dying to see the trilogy fight and this could be the perfect time for it with all the moving parts at lightweight.

The best thing about this fight is that it will always sell. It doesn’t matter whether or not the two have lost 10 fights in row. This is the UFC’s ace of spades. This fight is always in their back pocket and it’s just a matter of when they’ll book it.

Nate Diaz has been quiet as of late, this could be the perfect time for the return of the west coast gangster.

#3. Jorge Masvidal at International Fight Week in July
It seems like Usman vs Masvidal is just about a go. UFC president Dana White has come out and said it, plus both guys had to be separated during Super Bowl media day a few months ago. However, imagine the numbers that a BMF title fight between Masvidal and McGregor would do.

Masvidal is currently red hot and he has become a star. In fact, he’s at the peak of his stardom. Fans went crazy for Masvidal and Diaz last November for the BMF title and I can guarantee that they would hop on board if Masvidal defended the BMF belt against McGregor.

Personally, I think this fight is a bit of a stretch, but these two guys are crazy enough to go out there and do it so it can’t be taken off the table just yet.

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John Eric Poli