Conor McGregor is nearly ready to resume his UFC career but he’s still undecided on who he will face when he steps back inside the Octagon.
The reigning UFC lightweight champion took part in a Q&A in Glasgow, Scotland, on Friday, making his first real remarks since facing Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match back in August.
On that night, McGregor suffered a 10th round TKO in his professional boxing debut but despite the fight taking place in a different sport, he’s still treating it like any other loss in his career, which is serving as motivation for his return.
What that doesn’t answer, however, is who McGregor sees as his next logical opponent and like always the cagey Irishman notes that there are plenty of options when he returns to the UFC.
“I’m sitting on a loss in my mind, so I’m just seeing what options are there,” McGregor said (via MMAFighting).
“An option; there’s an interim belt on the line right now — that’s an option. Of course the Nate Diaz trilogy fight is there. Maybe one of these boxing guys — maybe [Paulie] Malignaggi would come over and do an MMA bout or Floyd. Maybe I could entice Floyd back. We could either do a rematch in boxing, or like he said originally, we’ll do an MMA fight next. They are the options that are on the table for me right now.”
The interim title fight takes place next weekend at UFC 216 as Tony Ferguson meets Kevin Lee to crown a champion while McGregor has been out of action since last November when he won the belt from Eddie Alvarez.
Ferguson has emphatically stated that McGregor should return to face the winner of the UFC 216 main event to unify the lightweight title or he should vacate the championship belt all together.
McGregor isn’t ruling out the possibility of facing Ferguson or Lee, but he wants to watch their fight next Saturday night before determining anything.
“I’m happy they’re fighting,” McGregor said about Ferguson and Lee. “This is what I wanted because they’re all bums at the end of the day, make no mistake about that. I’m just happy they’re fighting. I just want to see them compete.
“Too many of them pull out right at the wire and we’re still not at this fight yet, so I’m just going to pray that this one goes ahead. Of course Nate is still there waiting, but he’ll be left waiting until we figure something out.”
From there McGregor went onto mention several other names including Justin Gaethje and Khabib Nurmagomedov, who are both undefeated and competing in the lightweight division. Of course, McGregor added that Nurmagomedov would have to make weight again before he would entertain that fight after the Russian dropped out of his last contest when his body shut down while attempting to get down to the 155-pound limit.
“I’m just going to put a few options out there and see what bounces back. It’s got to excite me, let me see what these two fools do this weekend. We’ll see what the energy is like,” McGregor said.
“I just want to see them fight. They’re talking about me fighting? I’m the one going into other peoples’ domains and fighting. They’re sitting on Twitter typing away and complaining. I’m in there trying to do it.”
Finally, McGregor was asked about the possibility of facing off with Georges St-Pierre, who will return to the UFC for the first time in nearly four years when he fights middleweight champion Michael Bisping in November.
Of course, McGregor is happy to take on someone like St-Pierre, who has been a massive draw in his own right over the years, although the outspoken UFC champion doesn’t believe he’ll get past Bisping so it might not matter anyways.
“It’s another money fight, even though he’s been retired,” McGregor said. “I don’t know, I think he’s going to get his assed whooped by Bisping. To be honest I think it’s a mistake for him to step in at that weight after so long out.”
McGregor’s unwillingness to proclaim an opponent he wants to face next isn’t all that surprising. As the UFC’s biggest star and undoubtedly the most magnetic draw in the sport, McGregor holds all the cards for his return fight so he can virtually pick and choose who he’d like to face before pulling the trigger on an opponent.
For now, McGregor will continue to rest and relax while keeping a close eye on the UFC until he’s ready to announce his return in 2018.