Anyone who felt shortchanged by Conor McGregor's 40-second TKO of Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 on Saturday will get the chance to see "The Notorious" in action again before the summer.
McGregor's coach John Kavanagh confirmed on Monday the 31-year-old is "definitely gonna be competing before the summer," during an appearance on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show (h/t ESPN's Marc Raimondi).
McGregor feels the date of his next foray into the Octagon should take priority over choosing his opponent, according to the report. It's a curious position after how easily McGregor brushed aside Cerrone.
The latter barely unnerved McGregor, leaving the controversial fighter without a mark on him. Not everybody was impressed by the swift and one-sided bout, however.
Among the detractors, McGregor's former rival Nate Diaz described the performance as "fake" during a brief tirade on Twitter (h/t Ieuan Ivett of MailOnline). Ivett named Diaz and Jorge Masvidal as potential opponents for McGregor.
Diaz wasn't wowed, but Kavanagh felt there were positives from a fighter who hadn't been in action for over a year:
Coach Kavanagh @John_Kavanagh
The most impressive part of the fight, for me, was the athleticism required to fire the correct muscles in order to defend the takedown. In 0.1 seconds he went from a deep centred hip position for the cross to hip forward sprawl. Fast brain, Fast fighter. https://t.co/GcKYzeONju
Meanwhile, Joe Rogan was impressed by McGregor's humble approach to a comeback fight he wad widely expected to win:
Diaz and Masvidal are in the frame, but UFC president Dana White outlined how McGregor has a different plan in mind. White told TMZ Sports McGregor remains keen on a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov.
McGregor was forced to tap by Khabib at UFC 229 back in 2018, an occasion marred by a vicious aftermath to the fight. Both competitors were soon hit with suspensions for their roles in the melee.
Dominating Cerrone on his comeback proved McGregor hasn't lost his core skills, nor any of this striking power. Yet the brief return to action will have done little to endorse the idea McGregor is currently ready to face the undefeated Khabib again.
Getting past an opponent tougher than Cerrone, but not as skilled as Khabib, would make for more sensible preparation. Kavanagh outlined one such strategy involving Khabib's upcoming lightweight title defense against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 in April, per Raimondi.
McGregor would be ready to step in for either man should injury occur, according to his coach. Yet Ferguson also pointed to a possible clash with Justin Gaethje, saying: "Then you're kind of on the same timeline for a fight (against the Nurmagomedov-Ferguson winner) a couple of months after that."
McGregor is competing at 170 pounds, but Kavanagh said he won't drop down to the 155 lightweight limit without the lure of a title being on the line. It means renewing his rivalry with Khabib will have to wait, giving McGregor time to prove he can stand up to tougher tests than Cerrone.