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After suffering a devastating ankle injury in his last fight at UFC 264, Conor McGregor is set to be out of action for the next year, at least.
Despite this, the debate surrounding who McGregor should face on his return is already heating up, with fans, fighters, and journalists all weighing in on who the next recipient of a “red panty night” should be.
UFC chief Dana White has claimed Dustin Poirier is currently at the front of the queue, despite dominating the Irishman with relative ease in both of his last two bouts.
Justin Gaethje, Michael Chandler, and Kamaru Usman have all claimed they would be happy to welcome McGregor back as well, while fights against Tony Ferguson or Nate Diaz seem the two most enticing options for MMA fans.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Star, former UFC middleweight champion and commentator Michael Bisping shared his thoughts on who McGregor should meet on his return to the octagon.
The Count explained that while a bout with Diaz would undoubtedly shatter UFC pay-per-view records, McGregor should steer well clear of the granite-chinned American if he plans on winning his return bout.
“I don’t think Nate Diaz is the right fight,” Bisping said.
“Look at Nate Diaz against Leon Edwards. Nate got his arse kicked for four-and-a-half rounds, and then almost knocked Leon out in the final round.
“The point of me saying that is that Nate can still take a beating and he’s still got it. Nate’s still there."
Who do you think Conor McGregor should fight on his return to the UFC octagon? Let us know in the comments section below.
So, if not Diaz, then who should welcome McGregor back to the octagon?
“Tony Ferguson, 100%,” Bisping immediately claimed.
“That’s the fight to make.
“Tony Ferguson was a guy that would kind of allow people to beat him up, then they’d get tired, and he’d take them out.
“But you can only fight like that for so long. That’s what made Tony such a fan favourite, but unfortunately, all that damage has taken its toll. That’s what we’re seeing right now.
“For Conor, that would be a great comeback fight. He’s a better striker than Tony Ferguson, simple as that. I don’t think Tony can take damage like he used to.
Ferguson, currently riding a three-fight losing streak, was formerly one of the UFC’s most exciting fighters.
However, after suffering a horrendous beatdown at the hands of Justin Gaethje last year, El Cucuy has not looked the same since.
If McGregor wants to get back to winning ways, Ferguson feels like the right opponent.
However, under Dana White, the UFC has not often made the “right” fights, and instead prefers the most lucrative bouts.
Aware of this, Bisping explained that instead of bouts with Diaz or Ferguson, McGregor will likely meet Dustin Poirier one more time.
While the Count respects the Irishman’s decision, he admitted that it’s “probably not a smart idea.”
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“He’s gonna comeback off the back of getting his arse kicked twice, it’s a tough position to be in,” Bisping said.
“He’s in a tough position. But certainly, coming back and facing Dustin Poirier. I think that’s probably what’s going to happen.
“Dustin’s probably going to beat Charles. He’s probably going to become the champion. Conor’s going to come back and he’s going to fight Dustin a fourth time.
“I respect that, it’s ballsy, it’s great. But it’s probably not a smart idea.”
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- Conor Mcgregor
- Nate Diaz
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