Everyone is expecting Conor McGregor to return to the Octagon following his foray into boxing with Floyd Mayweather. So far, however, we have no answer to who, where, or when.
Mayweather vs. McGregor, despite not reaching record levels at the gate, will still go down as the biggest combat sports event of 2017. By all accounts, it will also be a massive financial success, adding hefty amounts of greenbacks to McGregor and Mayweather’s bottom lines.
McGregor’s disclosed $30 million purse for the Mayweather bout was ten times that of his biggest UFC payday. So it’s certainly not going to be business as usual when he returns to the Octagon.
Though he indicated that he’d like to fight again by the end of 2017, his coach, John Kavanagh, doesn’t think the timing is quite right for such a quick rebound following the Mayweather vs. McGregor monster.
“As for what’s next, we’re currently taking a bit of down time after a fairly exhausting few months. Conor is in Ibiza for a friend’s wedding, I’m in Florida with my fiancée Orlagh, and we haven’t looked too far beyond that,” Kavanagh wrote in his column for Irish news outlet The42.
“We’re just going to switch off, let our minds settle, and we’ll make a decision on the next step when the time is right.
“It’s probably a little late in the day to realistically expect another fight before the end of the year, because even after this hiatus is over, a lot goes into the planning and execution of a training camp at our level. I find it hard to envisage another fight in 2017,” he continued.
“Then again, knowing Conor, I could get a text message tonight telling me otherwise. He’s difficult to predict.”
Though it would seem as simple as lining up an opponent for McGregor and plastering a date on the fight, it’s never that simple in the fight world. And now that the global spotlight on McGregor has intensified following his fight with Mayweather, there are likely going to be additional complications.
While UFC president Dana White has steadfastly insisted that he enjoys working with McGregor, he also is well aware that the Irishman’s drawing power has likely been magnified with his jump into the boxing world. There will likely be further negotiations on McGregor’s UFC contract, as well as dealing with whomever is his next opponent, particularly if that opponent is the one that Kavanagh has his sights set on.
“I’ve said for a long time that the Nate Diaz trilogy fight at lightweight is what I’d personally like to see next. That still needs to be put to bed,” said McGregor’s coach and longtime friend. One of Diaz’s coaches recently indicated that his fighter should command $20 to $30 million for a trilogy with McGregor.
Kavanagh realizes that there is an interim lightweight title fight on the offing at UFC 216 in October, when Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee square off, but McGregor has long been a fighter chasing history, and taking on the winner of Ferguson vs. Lee doesn’t have the historical feel as does a trilogy bout with Diaz.
“To be completely honest, I didn’t actually know who Kevin was until very recently. Tony is a solid fighter, but he doesn’t have the kind of appeal that would get your blood racing, particularly in the context of coming from the excitement of the Nate Diaz rematch, the historical significance of beating Eddie Alvarez at Madison Square Garden, and the novelty of facing the greatest boxer of his generation.”
McGregor has yet to make much further comment about his fighting future other than to say that he does intend to fight again. So for now, we sit and we wait, and the legions of UFC fighters yearning for an eight-figure payday continue to shout Conor McGregor’s name.