Conor McGregor was valiant in defeat Saturday night vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. No matter what the judges’ cards said, he won the first three rounds and at least initially appeared to be a threat to pull off a major upset. As the fight progressed, however, McGregor got more and more fatigued and increasingly looked overmatched and out of place.
After Mayweather’s 10th-round TKO over McGregor in Las Vegas, some of the first questions for the Irishman, naturally, were about what is next in his career. Will he box again, or is he going to return to UFC, the sport he has dominated for years?
“I believe I’ll do it again,” McGregor said of boxing, per the Associated Press, but he added immediately, “I’m looking forward to kicking something again. I’m also looking forward to grappling. I’m looking forward to getting back in and having a good, solid knock again.”
Reading between the lines, McGregor wants to get back to UFC, stat.
That’s the right move.
Yes, he had a decent showing Saturday night, but no, he has no real future in the sport of boxing. Mayweather is one of the all-time greats, but he’s also 40 years old, and if McGregor got into the ring with any ranked fighter in his weight class, he’d get school again.
Should he stay in boxing, though, Paulie Malignaggi makes sense as an opponent. Paulie, one of McGregor’s sparring partners in McGregor’s training for Mayweather, was once a formidable welterweight but is currently inactive an unranked.
Malignaggi, 37, would be a favorite over McGregor, according to legendary Las Vegas sports book Jimmy Vaccaro, who floated odds on the potential match via Twitter on Sunday.
in this corner paulie malignaggi vs conor mc gregor paulie -180 conor +160 who you playing boys
— Jimmy Vaccaro (@JimmyVaccaro) August 27, 2017
At less than 2-to-1 odds, we’d make a large bet on Paulie.
UFC president Dana White, of course, wants McGregor back in the octagon
“I would rather he did not (box again),” White said. “This is not what he does. He is a mixed martial artist.”
The strong guess here is that’s exactly where McGregor is heading, and a trilogy fight with Nate Diaz may be on the horizon.
McGregor said he’d be happy to take on Diaz again but that if a third fight between the two were to happen, it has to be contested at McGregor’s weight. McGregor moved up to 170 pounds for their first two fights, losing the first via second-round submission in March 2016, and winning the second via majority decision in August of the same year.
“I’m the 155-pound champion,” McGregor said Saturday. “If he wants that fight, he must come down. That’s a fair trade.”
Hopefully, Diaz agrees. If not, there are plenty of other guys he can fight. While none of these fights will match the hype, money or excitement Mayweather-McGregor produced, a UFC career is what is in the stars for Conor.