Conor McGregor is in a precarious position in his career at the moment. After a breath-taking demolition job win against Donald Cerrone in January last year, the hopes of every McGregor fan were at an all-time high, but with a disastrous turn off events, his fabled ‘’2020 season’’ was cut short due to the Covid-19 Pandemic that ensued two months later. McGregor was forced to the side-lines for the remainder of the year, only for politics to keep him out of contention.
He returned at the start of this year against former Featherweight rival Dustin Poirier, but this time at Lightweight. What started out with hope and curiosity turned into a rude awakening for the Notorious. Getting stopped for the first time in his career through knockout was a sight to behold for many MMA fans that had seen the Irishman’s aura fairly diminished in upsetting fashion and for McGregor fans an image they want to forget (me included). The loss has put into question his motivation and eagerness to become the fighter he once was and if he were to lose his next fight, retirement is not out of the question!
With talks with an immediate return come May time, I have decided to look at each potential opponent McGregor could face for the remainder of his career if he were to continue. So here is my ranking for all opponents ranked in terms of hardest to easiest.
It is rather simple, McGregor should be no where near the powerful Nigerian, the Welterweight Champion is currently on a steam-roll through the Welterweight division, much like McGregor through his Featherweight stint from 2013–2015, there is no stopping a force like Usman, especially not from a natural Lightweight like McGregor who lacks the grappling strength and overall stamina to withstand the power of Usman.
Now that is not to say McGregor would not have advantages, his striking and fight IQ would make the fight semi-interesting and with an onslaught of trash talk, how Usman deals with that would be a major factor in how the fight transpires. However, Usman has many similarities to Khabib, but much bigger, stronger, and cleaner boxing. It would be a hill to steep to climb for the Irishman.
What can be said about this rivalry that has not been said already? Easily one of the most toxic rivalries in MMA history and a black spot for the sport in many ways with what happened throughout the build-up. The first fight was a typical wrestler vs striker match-up with Khabib dominating McGregor throughout the fight before finishing McGregor with a neck crank in the fourth round.
However, McGregor is still clamouring for the rematch and one could argue he could defeat the Russian if granted the chance to redeem his lost. Many factors have been thrown around to bolster another fight, ‘’he clearly wasn’t motivated enough’’, ‘’he was drinking leading up to the fight’’, he didn’t respect Khabib’s skill enough and ‘’he was two years out of the octagon’’. All excuses have truth in them, and one could only imagine a truly tuned in McGregor would give Khabib a worthy rematch and the being the first man to take a round of The Eagle is a achievement in its own right, but looking logically at the match-up, McGregor would have to be at his very best to oust his rival and looking at Khabib..someone’s best is rarely ever good enough to dethrone his suffocating reign.
Whatever happens, the rematch is still the superfight!
The loudmouth American has been labelled as a wannabe McGregor, and one cannot really argue against that statement. Controversy creates conversation and that is exactly what Covington has done for himself to even be regarded as a top star in the company.
Looking at a match-up however between the two, I can only imagine it would go one or two ways, either McGregor simply outboxes Colby and puts him a way early, which could easily happen as Colby has minimal boxing and is feather fisted compared to his counterparts in the Welterweight division or Covington pours his offensive wrestling and smothering volume punching onto McGregor, bringing him into deep waters which has shown to be McGregor’s kryptonite on more than one occasion.
After his last title matchup against Kamaru Usman, neither Covington nor Usman attempted a takedown on one another, cancelling out each other’s main stylistic strategy and stuck to stand-up, leading Colby to a TKO loss in the fifth round, if one looks at that fight, McGregor would be favoured in the opening rounds but if Covington is still present, it could be a long a gruelling night for the Notorious.
Now this is a tricky one for me. Having not entirely watched Chandler up until his UFC debut against Dan Hooker, I was sitting on the fence on rather or not the former Bellator man would have what it takes to compete in the most dangerous division present in the UFC. A shark tank filled with contenders and facing Dan Hooker for his first fight, the cards were stacked against the Tennessee man from the outset.
I was 100% unequivocally wrong! Michael Chandler for his size is a dangerous opponent for anyone in the division, boasting elite wrestling, similar to that off Chad Mendes from size, style, and power he will give McGregor a run for his money and coming from his pro-wrestling style post-match he has the confidence too truly state his position as a top contender.