There are a number of MMA fighters lining up to take on Conor McGregor in the octagon now that the crossover bout against Floyd Mayweather is in the rearview mirror.
McGregor's fight options are plentiful and Covers reviewed some of the more tantalizing ones following his loss to Mayweather. Another boxing match hasn’t been ruled out, but most expect McGregor’s next move will be stepping back in the octagon.
5Dimes has odds on four potential McGregor fights at the last UFC event of the year.
UFC 2016 on Oct. 7 will feature a lightweight fight between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee for the presumed No. 1 contender status and the clearest path to McGregor’s next title defense as the lightweight champion. But McGregor’s camp isn’t in favor of a bout against the Ferguson-Lee winner for the Irishman’s next fight.
"To be completely honest, I didn't actually know who Kevin was until very recently," McGregor head coach John Kavanagh told The42.ie regarding the Lee-Ferguson match. "Tony is a solid fighter, but he doesn't have the kind of appeal that would get your blood racing, particularly in the context of coming from the excitement of the Nate Diaz rematch, the historical significance of beating Eddie Alvarez at Madison Square Garden and the novelty of facing the greatest boxer of his generation.”
Diaz owns a marginal record as a professional fighter but his rivalry with McGregor keeps him in the spotlight. Diaz became a big name after beating McGregor in UFC 196 as a +300 underdog. McGregor was supposed to fight Rafael Dos Anjos at the event but accepted Diaz as a late injury replacement.
Westgate SuperBook manager Jeff Sherman told Covers his shop would open with McGregor as a -250 fave and price Diaz at +200 should the two go at it again. Sherman also said he expects a bigger draw for McGregor fights moving forward after the attention earned from the Mayweather fight.
McGregor’s in demand among his peers in the sport not just because of the lightweight belt he holds, but also because of his ability to draw at the gate, on television and at the betting window.
“When we book McGregor in MMA, he’s usually the favorite and he gets a good amount of support,” MGM vice president of race and sports Jay Rood told MMAFighting.com days before the Mayweather fight. “When he fought [Nate] Diaz in the rematch, that drew pretty good, equal action on both sides. But generally, if McGregor is fighting somebody he draws pretty good action.”
The official numbers have yet to be released but reports indicate the Mayweather-McGregor fight was the most heavily bet boxing match in Nevada history and the pay-per-view buys were on par or better than the highest ever.
McGregor’s last four fights in the octagon at UFC 205, 202, 196 and 194 all rank in the top 14 of best-selling pay-per-views in fight history according to Business InsiderUK. UFC 202, the rematch against Diaz which McGregor won by decision, is the sixth best-selling PPV in fight history and UFC 196, featuring the original McGregor-Diaz fight, is the 10th best-selling PPV.
A fight against the Ferguson-Lee winner might make the most sense for the sport, but McGregor-Diaz III will make the most sense for the purse. The fight against Mayweather supposedly guaranteed McGregor at least $30 million. A fight against Diaz certainly won’t reach that type of payout but it’ll hit a much higher number than a title defense against the Ferguson-Lee winner.