UFC 2 years ago

The Money Fight: Comparing McGregor's potential opponents

  • The Money Fight: Comparing McGregor's potential opponents

    NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor motions to the crowd during UFC 205 Open Workouts at Madison Square Garden on November 9, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

I'm the money fight at all weight divisions
-Conor McGregor 

This is the only thing that all MMA fans can argee on, no matter which side of the fence you're on. Conor McGregor can bring in the fans, sell out arenas and send the world into a frenzy whenever he's fighting. In his last 5 fights, 3 of them have been successful championship victories, all via TKO with a trademark left hand punch. 

There's been no word on what the next fight will be, as his next fight is likely to be his last for a short while with his first child on the way next year. As a result of 3 consecutive weights outside featherweight, he was stripped of his 145 pound title, with interim champ Jose Aldo promoted to undisputed champion. Regardless, let's check out his potential opponents at all weight divisions. 

Jose Aldo "Junior" - featherweight

Height: 5'7"
Reach: 70"
Record: 26-2
Rank: Champion

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Jose Aldo is ready for McGregor, though this time it's Aldo chasing McGregor. The Brazilian fought Frankie Edgar for the interim strap at a less than stellar UFC 200 event, and has since been promoted to undisputed champ with McGregor vacating the featherweight title. While he may have captured gold once again, it's quite obvious that Aldo won't be satisfied until he has a rematch with The Notorious one, calling him a ***** for not having defended the crown. Aldo will be hungry for revenge and to ensure that his storied career won't be tarnished by a record breaking 13 second knock out at the hands of McGregor. 

How does a rematch play out differently? No idea. McGregor has worked on his takedown defence, which rendered Eddie Alvarez's wrestling useless. Can't see it Aldo winning it, McGregor just seems too strong.

Is it the right fight? Probably not. McGregor doesn't seem interested in a pointless featherweight fight now that he's the lightweight king. That being said, if they fight and Aldo wins, it's 1-1 and a trilogy is on the cards. If McGregor wins, he's still one of the best in the world. 

Khabib "The Eagle" Nurmagomedov - lightweight

Height: 5'10"
Reach: 70"
Record: 24-0
Rank: #1

Now don't let these numbers fool you. They're definitely impressive, as anyone who is ranked as the number 1 contender should have such a record as this. But questions have to be asked of Khabib's consistency. Let's face it, the guy is a great fighter but when he's pulled out of as many fights as he has due to injury, you've gotta question whether he deserves that number 1 spot in the division so soon after 2 years out of the sport.

Nonetheless, his grappling is like nothing McGregor has faced before, and would prove a worthy opponent for the Irishman. But in order to get close enough to grapple, Khabib will run the risk of being exposed to a deadly left hand. As they say, styles make fights, and this one would be a match of complete opposites.

How does this play out? Quite simple. Either McGregor by knockout, or Nurmagomedov by submission. But no guarantee who until they fight. 

Is this the right fight? Not just yet. After being out for 2 years Nurmagomedov needs to finish a top 3 opponent before clamouring for a title shot, and McGregor just isn't interested in someone who hasn't been active. 

Tony "El Cucuy" Ferguson - lightweight

Height: 5'11"
Reach: 76"
Record: 23-3
Rank: #2

If we're going to talk about active fighters, this guy is the one. The Ultimate Fighter 13 winner has been fighting for the UFC since 2011 with only 1 loss in the company. El Cucuy is currently on a 9 fight winning streak, which includes the highly regarded Edson Barbosa as well as former champion Rafael dos Anjos.
As McGregor has said, his opponents need some form of physical advantage to have a chance with him. Ferguson fits the bill perfectly with a 2 inch height and reach advantage, along with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and wrestling pedigree. Much like McGregor, Ferguson loves angles and finding his opponent's face from wherever he can, but can also submit his opponents

How does this play out? Hmm. We've got two similar fighters here, so it makes it a bit hard to predict. It'll come down to who can hit first and hit harder. 

Is this the right fight? It could be, but he may need to go a few rounds with Khabib since they both feel they're deserving of a title shot. Great match up otherwise. 

Tyron Woodley - welterweight

Height: 5'9"
Reach: 74"
Record: 16-3-1
Rank: Champion

Here's where McGregor starts to bite off more than he can chew. Going up to lightweight isn't a huge deal, but by attempting a leap to 170 pounds unleashes a whole other level of dangerous. I mean, seriously, these guys are taller, stronger, hit harder and can probably overpower McGregor with certain ease. 
While these two fighters may have similar stats, Tyron Woodley packs power, and I mean a WHOLE lot of power. His punches, takedowns and kicks are all just as lethal as each other, and it showed in his first round KO of former champ Robbie Lawler. Woodley has shown time and time again he's versatile, strong and is not to be taken lightly. 

How does this play out? Woodley will most likely look to overpower McGregor with wrestling, one of Conor's holes in his fight game. If they engage in stand up, both men need to ensure his defence is on point to avoid an overhead bomb. 

Is this the right fight? Straight up, no. Conor needs to defend his lightweight title, and Woodley has a more pressing rematch with Stephen Thompson on the cards. Maybe if they're both free later on, who knows? 

Nate Diaz - lightweight

Height: 6'0"
Reach: 76"
Record: 20-11
Rank: #5

What would this list be without his newly made rival from 2016? This year saw the motor mouth pair fight twice, both times breaking pay per view records. While their antics are not endorsed by the athletic commission or the UFC, these two know exactly how to talk smack and put on a show. 
After Conor beat Alvarez for the lightweight title, Nate was probably the second most talked about fighter that night. The biggest stage is set beautifully for a trilogy fight with the title on the line. But to give the number 5 ranked Diaz ahead of the other top contenders would cause a top 5 meltdown. Makes for a good tournament among the lightweight elite, don't you think?

How does a trilogy fight play out? Even I'm scratching my head. The rematch showed Conor has evolved physically and mentally against Nate. Unstoppable force vs immovable object here. Conor by decision I think. 

Is this the right fight? No doubts they need a third scrap to settle the score. A title shot for Nate is probably unfair at the moment, but the UFC does have a habit of choosing the big fights rather than being fair. 

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