UFC’s cash cow Conor McGregor has stated that he hopes to fight a total of three times this year, with the ultimate goal of a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov at year’s end. Khabib is currently gearing up for his title defense against Tony Ferguson on April 18th, and he has been adamant about not granting McGregor a rematch, so the UFC will need to find another opponent for the Irish superstar in the meantime.
With a 40-second TKO victory over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone already under his belt this year, Dana White has several intriguing options on the table for McGregor’s next bout, including a trilogy fight with Nate Diaz or a clash with “BMF” titleholder, Jorge Masvidal. However, neither of those two men are the “frontrunner” to face off with McGregor.
According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the UFC is currently planning for a summertime fight between McGregor and Justin Gaethje.
McGregor (22-4, 10-2 UFC) made his return to the octagon at UFC 246 in January, where he disposed of the veteran Cowboy Cerrone within the opening minute. Gaethje (21-2, 4-2 UFC) has not fought since September, when he, too, stopped Cowboy in the first round for his third consecutive win.
Helwani notes that talks of a McGregor-Gaethje bout are still in the preliminary stages, but the UFC is angling for the potential bout to take place sometime this summer. McGregor moved up from Lightweight to Welterweight for UFC 246 but he made it clear he has no qualms with moving back to the Lightweight division if need be. Assuming his next opponent is Gaethje, that will likely be the case.