Conor McGregor's coach John Kavanagh is eager for him to have a rematch with Jose Aldo in his next fight and believes he could return as soon as UFC 200 in July.
The Irishman lost for the first time in the UFC on Saturday as he was forced to submit in the second round by Nate Diaz in their welterweight clash in Las Vegas.
Asked whom he would like to see McGregor fight next, Kavanagh named Aldo, the long-term UFC featherweight champion who lost his crown to the Notorious when he was knocked out in 13 seconds at UFC 194 in December, per MMA Fighting's The MMA Hour:
Me personally, maybe the Aldo rematch, I’d like to see that again.
I just think the first one was great for us, but it was a little bit unfulfilling…a little bit. I think Aldo has a fantastic set of skills, he was a great champion and I didn’t think that quite closed the chapter on that. So, [let’s] see a proper fight.
I think stylistically it would be a very nice fight to watch and a very good challenge. So that’s my personal opinion, but like I said, I’m not the decision-maker on that.
The full interview can be heard below (begins at 1:59.36):
McGregor opted to take the step up to fight Diaz at welterweight when Rafael dos Anjos pulled out of their proposed lightweight world title bout just days before the event.
It proved to be a step too far for the 27-year-old, with the Guardian's Les Carpenter writing that "he had made a grave mistake in taking a fight far above the 145 pounds where he remains a champion."
But he does indeed remain the featherweight champion and thus has several options on the table for his next fight.
His defeat of Aldo was swift and brutal, per BT Sport:
BT Sport @btsport
If you're just waking up, the @UFC has a new Featherweight Champion! Congratulations @TheNotoriousMMA! #UFC194 https://t.co/LZHSuvAHFh2015-12-13 08:53:59
As noted by Kavanagh, though, it was not much of a contest, and it would certainly be an anticipated rematch should the pair meet again.
Kavanagh also said that a clash with No. 1 contender Frankie Edgar would be a good option, but Aldo would be his preferred opponent, per The MMA Hour.
As for how soon McGregor will return to the Octagon, the coach from SBG Ireland insisted his charge would not be taking an extended time out of the game and is eager for his charge to return at UFC 200:
I would push for that. I would like to fight, and that is what he is driven to do. He’s not the guy to go off to sit on the beach for a couple of weeks. He’s just not that way. Everything he does is a million miles an hour. His brain works fast, his body works fast. He’s not particularly hurt, no injuries from the fight, no suspension or anything like that. So, a little bit of a rest and I have a lot of ideas in my head—a lot of things I took away from that fight—and I’m very excited to work on that.
Despite his defeat, McGregor remains a huge draw in MMA, and his next move will be hotly anticipated.
He may have paid for making a big step up and losing to Diaz, but he remains the man to beat at featherweight.