UFC 217 may be taking place this weekend (Sat., November 4, 2017) from New York, but much of the focus of the MMA world still remains on just whom lightweight champion Conor McGregor will face in his awaited Octagon return.
Today (Tues., October 31, 2017) we may have some direct insight into his plans, as McGregor revealed to Ireland’s entertainment.ie (via MMA Fighting) that interim lightweight champ Tony Ferguson, the hardcore MMA community’s overwhelming choice for his next bout, is the logical next choice for him:
“I’ve got everyone clawing at me, trying to get at me, and that’s from multiple sports, multiple organizations, multiple everything. It’s been like that for a long, long time, I feel, so it’s just another day for me. I know there are many contenders in the UFC. There are many boxing contenders as well. What interests me is certainly a UFC bout, certainly a defense of my lightweight title. There is a fighter with the interim lightweight belt. I feel that will be next. We’ll see how negotiations go.”
McGregor has yet to participate in an official title defense since first winning the UFC featherweight title from Jose Aldo at December 2015’s UFC 194, after which he engaged in his now-legendary rivalry with fan favorite Nate Diaz before winning the lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 last November, after which he was stripped of the 145-pound belt.
He’s been out of action for the entirety of 2017 thus far after meeting Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match August 26.
The other frontrunner for his next fight is his trilogy bout with Diaz, a fight that has been losing steam as discussions of the Ferguson match-up gain momentum. McGregor acknowledged that was still a possibility, however, just like one of several potential boxing crossover matches:
“The Diaz trilogy is also there,” McGregor said. “I can defend my belt against Nate. Maybe we can persuade one of these boxing opponents to step into the Octagon, or there’s also boxing bouts as well. So, there’s so many options. I feel to legitimize the belt — there’s an interim champion, I’m the unified champion — I feel that will be next. We are currently in contract negotiations, and we’ll see where it goes.”
So ‘The Notorious’s’ plans remain wide open, even if Ferguson remains the frontrunner. Whom do you think he should return to face?