Conor McGregor has a money, a UFC Championship and some super-dorky glasses. He also has a wealth of options, which was tradition before his UFC 196 loss to Nate Diaz.
"The Notorious" Conor McGregor doesn't think one step ahead, he thinks about a half-dozen steps ahead. Today is no different -- just look at his options.
1. UFC Championship Unification match with Jose Aldo
2. Trilogy fight with Nate Diaz
3. Lightweight title match with Eddie Alvarez.
4. Jaw-jacking with Floyd Mayweather for a fight that won't happen.
He refused to commit to anything leading up to UFC 202, or following his victory over Nate Diaz. McGregor professed his desire to face Diaz at 155 pounds in a trilogy bout in the future. Dana White, Jose Aldo, and virtually anyone else with a voice have stated that McGregor needs to vacate his Featherweight Championship if he doesn't defend it in his next bout.
This brings up some interesting scenarios.
Those people are right -- all of them. McGregor should defend his championship next or vacate it. He's been scheduled three different times across two weight classes since defeating Jose Aldo. Speaking of Jose Aldo, it's a little unusual that a guy who went over a year without defending that Featherweight Championship is so keen on asking someone to vacate it. Granted, his gaps were due to injuries, but McGregor vacating that title could really affect Aldo's perception among fans. Aldo was knocked out with ease by McGregor to lose the 145 pound title, only to later earn an interim title. McGregor vacating the title makes Aldo a 'paper' champion in the vein of Daniel Cormier and Renan Barao. Remember when Dominick Cruz was out for three years, and the entire UFC Bantamweight division was a total lie? A mirage? A fable? McGregor may want things that way. Then, no matter what happens, he'll always have option number one.
A third fight with Nate Diaz will happen. Maybe not in 2016, 2017, or even 2018, but it's happening. It's a fight that the UFC knows it can go back to, regardless of win-loss records, titles, or anything of the like. It'll also draw huge pay-per-view numbers, no matter what.The beauty in UFC 202 for the UFC or Diaz is that the loss was a close one, so he didn't lose face. The Diaz faithful haven't waivered.
A lightweight championship fight with Eddie Alvarez actually seems the most likely to occur. The UFC has been non-commital in giving Alvarez an opponent at 155 pounds. The irony of UFC 202 is that Donald Cerrone, McGregor and Diaz all could have earned 155 pound title shots while competing at 170 pounds. Cerrone wants Alvarez, and has a win over him. Dana White, on the other hand, doesn't want Cerrone back at 155. Diaz lost, and says he won't fight again until the McGregor trilogy -- and he has the funds to make such demands. McGregor and Alvarez have already yakked at each other repeatedly, and that's an easy fight to make.
McGregor cutting weight is a big factor here. After 8 months of eating a lot better than usual, another birthday passing (he's now 28), and an IV ban, the drop to 145 may be harder than ever. The new, early weigh-ins could play a role in favor of a possible drop back to 145 pounds, but that adjustment after McGregor's 2016 seems downright unsafe.
A boxing match with Floyd Mayweather isn't going down. McGregor wants $100 million, and he means it. For the amount Mayweather is likely willing to give up, McGregor could probably smash some poindexter in a non-title fight. McGregor realizes that at this point, he's Mayweather's biggest potential dance partner on PPV, after Mayweather's retirement fight flopped at the box office. Also, don't kid yourselves -- Mayweather would crush McGregor in a boxing match, and McGregor would probably submit Mayweather within a minute in an MMA fight.
That leaves us with Hollywood and the WWE. McGregor says he passed up a seven figure opportunity to appear in the new XXX movie (an action flick, not a porn). He'll still have those offers. He's also put himself in a great position to waltz into the WWE and be involved wherever on the card that he'd like to be. As an editor, McGregor's WWE comments and subsequent reactions have provided us with countless articles, tweets, headlines, and topics to discuss. The Irishman worked wrestling fans hard, and left every WWE Superstar angling to take him on.
It's just not who he fights or what he does -- McGregor has also put himself in a position to do such anywhere he wants. He could sell out Madison Square Garden with anyone. He would fill up a soccer stadium in either Brazil or Ireland in a heartbeat. He could continue his $7-8 million gates in Las Vegas, or he could create the most buzz of nearly any celebrity in WWE history.
"Surprise, surprise, motherf-ckers, the King is back!"
McGregor holds the cards, and every hand looks to be a royal flush.