What's next for Conor McGregor after defeat to Floyd Mayweather?
After every massive build-up comes the climax, and a slow tapering off. Now that Conor McGregor has fought Floyd Mayweather (and inevitably lost), and the hype train has come to a stop, what's next for the 29-year-old UFC featherweight champion?
He is still signed to the UFC under Dana White, but is free to make corporate sponsorships outside of the UFC, as he has done with McGregor Sports and Entertainment, his flagship company soon to launch with its own brand of Irish whisky.
Here are the three things that Conor McGregor can do now that the Mayweather bout is done with, and the future is wide open:
He could retire. Of course, this is the least likely option. From McGregor's own mouth:
“I’ll see what’s next. I’m open. I love competing. I love a good fight. I can’t tell you exactly what’s next. But something will be next.”
McGregor's status as the reigning UFC featherweight champ will require a defense soon. If he doesn't return to the Octagon, he'll forfeit his title, which he is extremely unlikely to do. Being 11 years younger than Floyd Mayweather, he has to fight. At least, it seems that whisky and sponsorships aren't enough to motivate him. He needs to do what he does best. But the question is with who, and when.
Who could match up to the excitement and media presence surrounding McGregor vs. Mayweather? It seems, given McGregor's record in the UFC, there's only one fight that could satiate the fans.
He has to fight Nate Diaz.
The Diaz vs. McGregor fights have gone down in the UFC hall of fame. Diaz won the first fight, bringing McGregor to the ground and putting him in a chokehold that he couldn't break free from, ending the altercation. Diaz's victory was challenged in UFC 202, when McGregor took the win, settling their record with a 1-1 ratio.
Clearly, this tie must be broken. The better fighter must win. The Diaz/McGregor fight must become a trilogy, a true tiebreaker. Diaz and McGregor are both extremely competent fighters, and either one of them could beat the other.
With all the hype garnered by McGregor's recent moves, his next fight has to hit close to home. This is the way to do it. And yet, what if MMA isn't in his future at all? What if he wants to keep boxing?
Dana White was asked how he feels about McGregor boxing, and his answer was simple:
“I would rather he did not. This isn’t what he does. He’s a mixed martial artist where he goes in and he fights and he uses all of his weapons and tonight he was only allowed to use his hands. I think he did great tonight. I don’t think there’s anything left to prove. I would rather he fight mixed martial arts.”
A boxing bout with his former trainer, Paulie Malignaggi, who quit angrily after allegedly deceptive footage of McGregor destroying him at boxing was released in the run-up to the Mayweather fight, could potentially earn more than any MMA fight. But boxing fatigue could set in quickly for McGregor and his fans. People want to see him use his legs, and those hammerfists.
Whatever McGregor does next, whether he takes a break, fights in MMA, or chooses to box again, he'll continue his brand with relative ease. He has over a decade to catch up to where Floyd Mayweather is at - retired, content, with absolutely nothing left to prove.