Potential Contenders For Conor McGregor's Lightweight Title

Potential Contenders For Conor McGregor's Lightweight Title
Andrew Lowth
Andrew Lowth

22 Dec 2016

There's been a lot of talk about who will get the first shot at Conor McGregor's UFC lightweight title in the last few days, and it all makes for compelling reading!

At the beginning there appeared to be two main contenders, who were set to fight off for a shot at The Notorious One when he comes back from his break.

However, the last couple of days appear to have thrown two new names into the hat. One of those names came as a surprise, another not so surprising.

So let's have a look at who could be facing off for McGregor's strap in the future.

1. Khabib Nurmagomedov

Before McGregor was placed in the match against Eddie Alvarez, Khabib already had a huge claim to get a shot at the belt.

Those claims were boosted even further when he ragdolled Michael Johnson on the undercard to McGregor vs Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, in what was an impressive display that ended in submission thanks to a kimura in the 3rd round.

'The Eagle' then went on to call out McGregor, fully expecting him to beat Alvarez, calling him 'chicken'.

Khabib looks like he could be keen to fight again, and in fact had been planning to fight the next person at 208 in Brooklyn, only money issues got in the way.

2. Tony Ferguson

Tony Ferguson shot himself right into contention with a win over former champion Rafael Dos Anjos at The Ultimate Fighter Latin America Finale in Mexico City.

He's a solid all-rounder with excellent skills in boxing, kickboxing and jiu-jitsu and would be an interesting challenge for McGregor.

As mentioned above, the talks were on the table for him to take on Khabib at 208, however he's also in the midst of a contract dispute with the bosses at the UFC, looking to get himself more money for turning up.

With Ferguson off the table (for now!), it's brought two new names into the mix.

5. Nate Diaz

We all know the back story to McGregor and Diaz at this stage.

They've got a win each in 2 fights against each other, so of course once the second fight was over, people were immediately calling for the third one.

It's a fight that sells itself. Diaz is the only person to beat McGregor in the UFC, and their second fight at UFC 202 was easily one of the fights of the year.

If Diaz wants a crack at McGregor, he'll most likely have to go through an interim title fight or some sort of eliminator against the likes of Khabib or someone who has come onto the radar from absolutely nowhere.

4. Jose Aldo


Where oh where do we start here?

McGregor knocked Jose Aldo out in 13 seconds at UFC 194 just over a year ago. McGregor told him they'd go again. McGregor has since changed his tune on that one. 

Aldo beat Frankie Edgar for the interim featherweight title at UFC 200 in a fairly dominant unanimous decision and had been calling him out ever since.

Eventually, McGregor was stripped of the featherweight title (even though he's not having any of it) and Aldo was then promoted as champion.

The talks had been in place for Aldo to face Max Holloway, but that appears to be off the table. Aldo then claimed in an interview with Ariel Helwani that an interim lightweight title fight could be in the offing, which would demonstrate a very interesting change in events.

People will say Aldo doesn't deserve another crack at McGregor because he was knocked out. Would those same people say McGregor didn't deserve another go at Diaz after he was submitted? It's a ridiculous notion. If Aldo puts himself into contention by winning not one, but two interim belts, there's no reason why he can't get another go.

That's not to suggest the result would be any different, of course, but that loss to Diaz is arguably the best thing that happened to Conor McGregor. Aldo will be desperate to prove that KO won't be one that would haunt him forever.