UFC President Dana White made no secret of his desire to see the rematch between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov after the Notorious' knockout win over Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 on Saturday.
White described the rematch as the biggest in MMA history, and while many fans and pundits are clamoring for a fight between McGregor and Jorge Masvidal, he thinks Nurmagomedov makes more sense:
ESPN's Marc Raimondi shared the key quotes from the post-fight press conference:
McGregor's return to the Octagon could not have gone any better, with the Irishman dominating Cowboy and getting the win inside the first minute.
With welterweight contender Masvidal and champion Kamaru Usman in attendance, the Notorious acknowledged he feels comfortable in the weight class. That got MMA writers Brett Okamoto and Shaheen Al-Shatti salivating at the thought of a meeting between Gamebred and McGregor:
Masvidal's popularity surged in 2019 thanks to key wins over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz. His five-second flying-knee knockout of Askren went viral, and the UFC cashed in by creating the BMF belt, which Gamebred won in dominant fashion at UFC 244.
Per ESPN Stats & Info, Masvidal is the No. 3 contender in the welterweight division, so a fight between him and McGregor could set up either man for a title shot:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
So what's next for Conor McGregor? Khabib and Tony Ferguson fight for the lightweight belt on April 18th. Conor could fight the winner, or even come in as an injury replacement. Jorge Masvidal, Kamaru Usman and Justin Gaethje are other names that have been floated out there. https://t.co/52uYplpODs
Usman, the champion, beat No. 2 contender Colby Covington at UFC 245. No. 1 contender and former champion Tyron Woodley will take on Leon Edwards at UFC Fight Night 171 in March.
But while there are plenty of options for McGregor at welterweight, the biggest fight likely awaits at lightweight. The unbeaten Nurmagomedov is scheduled to defend his title in a long-awaited showdown with Tony Ferguson at UFC 249. If he wins, a rematch with the Notorious seems a certainty.
The Russian dominated the first meeting between the two, but McGregor looked far sharper and more focused on Saturday than he has since beating Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in 2016. The Notorious is an elite striker with the accuracy to punish the rash Nurmagomedov, even if the champion would likely be the favourite because of his incredible ability on the ground.