UFC: 5 Fighters Conor McGregor Should Fight Next
Conor McGregor was coming into his fight against Diego Brandao with a massive amount of pressure on his shoulders. The UFC is banking on him becoming a massive star, and the Irish competitor lived up to those expectations.
From start to finish he battered Brandao in every position of the contest. While Brandao was a replacement for Cole Miller and far from a high-ranking opponent, McGregor has found himself in a position where he has vaulted himself to prominence in the featherweight division.
Even though his talking skills have done most of the work to this point, McGregor is becoming one of the most talked about athletes in this division. The UFC should follow suit by placing him in a challenging fight next to prove his worth while giving him the chance to further establish himself in the featherweight division.
These fight suggestions would help move McGregor up the featherweight ladder at an acceptable pace to match his verbal antics.
5. Charles Oliveira
Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira is one of the most interesting prospects in the featherweight division, if not across all of the UFC. The 24-year-old Brazilian is enjoying a two-fight win streak since submitting Hatsu Hioki in June.
Even though Oliveira is 6-4-1 in the UFC he's fought some of the best available at 145 and 155 pounds. His aggression on the feet and creativity in grappling make him a dangerous opponent for any competitor. Conor McGregor vs. Oliveira would be a captivating co-main event for a Fox event at some point in 2014.
4. Dustin Poirier
Dustin Poirier is a talented competitor within the featherweight division. Many MMA experts picked “The Diamond” as the next best competitor to face Conor McGregor before Cole Miller was announced as the co-headliner of this event.
Poirier is riding a three-fight win streak at the current time. His two losses have come to a former No. 1 contender in Chan Sung Jung and the next top contender Cub Swanson. Poirier is another fighter who has the ability to compete with McGregor on the feet and on the mat, making this a very captivating fight in every area.
The animosity between the two fighters has already started. When asked about the Irish fighter earlier this year Poirier responded with "Conor McGregor? I've never heard of him, he fights for the UFC? I'm focused on the big fights, I've never heard of the guy," as told to Trent Reinsmith of Bloody Elbow.
3. Chan Sung Jung
The UFC doesn't put fighters coming off of a win against those coming off of a loss too often. However, Chan Sung Jung has the type of style matchup that would immediately increase excitement about Conor McGregor.
“The Korean Zombie” last fought nearly a year ago when he challenged Jose Aldo in a losing effort. Jung's shoulder injury has kept him on the shelf, so that would be the first question that needs to be answered. If he's ready to go, the wild style he employs would fit perfectly against McGregor's willingness to stand and trade.
2. Ricardo Lamas
Conor McGregor has yet to face a wrestler type that enjoys taking opponents down to work for ground-and-pound points. Ricardo Lamas is exactly the type of fighter who would pose a threat to McGregor.
If “Notorious” is the next contender to the title as he insists, he would have to get a win over a grappler of Lama's ilk because the top of the division is heavy with men who can fight in such a style. Lamas is coming off of a recent win this month as well. He may not be the biggest name draw in the division, but McGregor and Lamas could capture attention as a co-main event for a UFC on Fox-style card.
1. Cub Swanson
Stylistically, Cub Swanson is a near mirror image of Conor McGregor. Swanson has become a fan-favorite because he doesn't shy away from exchanges that create highlight-reel stoppages. His recent win streak have many expecting him to be named the next challenger for the 145-pound title, but Aldo's injury may push back that title shot. Swanson was even mentioned as a potential fight for Chad Mendes as an interim title fight before UFC 176 was cancelled.
Swanson doesn't shy away from selling and promoting a fight which is the name of the game when placed against McGregor. This is a fight that could carry a UFC card presented on Fox. Twenty-five minutes of anticipated action would be enough to grab the MMA community just as McGregor's antics have in the past.