UFC Futures open for Conor McGregor’s next potential title fights

mcgregor-2Conor McGregor set a record last weekend (November 12, 2016) at UFC 205 when he became the first man to simultaneously hold championships in multiple weight classes, winning the featherweight strap from Jose Aldo last year at UFC 194 and most recently defeating Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight belt on Saturday night. So the big question is, what’s next? There are multiple options for McGregor and it’ll all depend on the Irishman. He can defend his featherweight title in a rematch, he can fight the obvious number one lightweight contender, he can have a big money trilogy bout against Nate Diaz or he can try to move to superhuman status by challenging Tyron Woodley for a potential third title. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas weighed those options and released some betting odds via Several Bookmakers and ESPN just moments ago:   Featherweight title Conor McGregor -205 Jose Aldo +165 Nick’s thoughts: The weight cut would be brutal for McGregor at this point, now that he has bulked up for fights at 155 and 170 pounds. But if he can make the cut, it would be a rematch of a fight he finished in 13 seconds [at UFC 194 last December]. McGregor’s timing and counter punching took Aldo out, ending his 10-year unbeaten streak. Aldo has all the tools, but don’t underestimate the mind games McGregor played on him. McGregor closed as a +100 even money bet against Aldo in their first fight. He’ll open significantly higher this time.   Lightweight title McGregor -250 Nate Diaz +190 Nick’s thoughts: McGregor was overzealous when they met in March [at UFC 196]. He head-hunted and gassed himself out. He fought with a far more measured approach in the rematch [at UFC 202 in August], working Diaz with low kicks, body shots and dropping him multiple times in the first two rounds. In both matchups, McGregor was obviously the better striker, as long as his conditioning held up. In order for Diaz to win, he’d have to rely on weathering the storm again and McGregor’s cardio fading. Diaz’s big advantage is on the ground, but his attempts to get the fight there were unsuccessful in the rematch. There’s no question McGregor should be the favorite in a trilogy bout.   Lightweight title  McGregor -115 Khabib Nurmagomedov -115 Nick’s thoughts: This fight would be McGregor’s ultimate test. Nurmagomedov is one of the best wrestlers in the UFC and would have a clear advantage on the ground. Unlike Diaz, Nurmagomedov has a very strong ability to put opponents on their back. McGregor would have to either limit his approach offensively, fearing the takedown, or go all out in an attempt to take Nurmagomedov out with strikes as quickly as possible before the takedowns come. McGregor’s use of range has helped his takedown defense and if he can stay upright, he should be in a great position. But if Nurmagomedov has success with his takedowns, it could be a long night for the Irishman. As a pick-em, the sports books should attract a large amount of two-way action due to both fighters having serious die-hard fan bases.   Welterweight title  McGregor +125 Tyron Woodley -155 Nick’s thoughts: McGregor’s previous experience at welterweight was against a large lightweight in Diaz. This time, McGregor would be facing a true welterweight, someone who walks around about 20 to 30 pounds heavier than him. This fight would be similar to the Nurmagomedov matchup, considering Woodley is a very powerful wrestler who can take him down and do serious damage on the canvas. Unlike Nurmagomedov, Woodley also has insane power with his right hand, and McGregor has never been hit by someone who can pack a punch like Woodley. That being said, McGregor should hold a significant technical striking edge and would have a clear path to victory if the fight stayed standing.

Written by Brian Hemminger

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