Six of the best | 

John Kavanagh reveals the six contenders Conor McGregor could face on his return

'I’ll be honest, the Nate Diaz trilogy is very, very tempting. It’s a fight that gives me nightmares'
Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

Conor McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh has revealed the six men he regards as the best contenders to take on the Dubliner when he returns to the Octagon.

As The Notorious prepares for his comeback following a broken tibia suffered in his defeat to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 in July, speculation is rising about who he could face next, including a “nightmare” trilogy clash with Nate Diaz.

“I’ll be honest, the Nate Diaz trilogy is very, very tempting. It’s a fight that gives me nightmares,” Kavanagh told The MMA Hour.

“The man doesn’t stop coming forward. Whether it’s three rounds or five rounds. But it’s an intriguing fight. So, that one is definitely very interesting.”

Diaz beat McGregor via submission at UFC 196 in 2016 before the Irish fighter got the better of his foe with a majority decision win over the American at UFC 202 later that year.

Kavanagh also suggested McGregor could make his return against Tony Ferguson, who has lost his last three fights against Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush.

“Also the Tony Ferguson one. It never happened. It was talked about a lot,” Kavanagh added.

“Tony still has, I believe, a lot to offer the game. He’s a very unorthodox striker, grappler.

“I think the build-up would be fun for the fans. So, you know, any of those kind of legacy guys.”

Kavanagh also put forward a number of other names from the lightweight division.

“Look, that division is killer. You know, Dan Hooker’s in there,” he added.

“The Islam [Makhachev] fight would be amazing as well, for obvious reasons. And we have, you know, whoever’s going to win this belt [Oliveira or Poirier].

“So, you know, look, any of those names. I’m just excited to see Conor back.”

McGregor himself recently talked up a potential fight against unbeaten rising star Khamzat Chimaev in a recently-deleted post; a match-up that Diaz originally suggested on Twitter.

"Let him fight kamrat (sic)," Diaz wrote. "That be a great fight to make. He needs an easy new guy to fight anyway he can taper back in and see if he can even still fight at all."

McGregor responded, saying: "No problem, b****."

In late October, as he resumed pad work for the first time since the summer, McGregor promised to pull off the biggest comeback in sporting history as he eyes a return to the UFC.

He said: "First time back on the pads! What a buzz! Let’s go team. Like my good friend Arnold Schwarzenegger says, 'I’ll be back, b******!' - back with a vengeance!

"Thank you to all my doctors and my team for getting me this far so soon after surgery! There is work to be done but doing work is what I’m known for. Strap yourselves in for the greatest comeback in sports history!

"[In] two more months I am able to kick, grapple and run again. Ecstatic and grateful at my position currently.

"Watch the work get put in now. Eight weeks left this calendar year, perfect to get a head start on 22’. You think a broke bone stop me?"

Since beating Eddie Alvarez in 2016 to become the lightweight champion, McGregor's only win in the UFC was his 40-second demolition of Donald Cerrone.

He has lost twice to Poirier and was also choked out by Khabib Nurmagomedov - and stopped in a boxing ring by Floyd Mayweather.

McGregor he will watch from the sidelines as Poirier challenges for the 155lb title against champion Charles Oliveira on December 11.

Today's Headlines

More Other Sport

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices