After Conor McGregor’s explosive return to the Octagon in which he knocked Donald Cerrone out in 40 seconds, the former two-division champion is plotting his next move in the UFC. While UFC president Dana White made it clear McGregor’s next bout would be for the lightweight title, the MMA star appears anxious to keep his momentum alive. Should Khabib Nurmagomedov or Tony Ferguson pull out of the showdown in April, McGregor would be the immediate replacement. But if the lightweight contenders make it to their title fight, McGregor may look elsewhere for his next challenger.
According to the former champ’s head coach John Kavanagh, he’d pick Justin Gaethje, the No. 4-ranked lightweight contender, as McGregor’s next opponent. Gaethje’s beef with McGregor is well-documented and he hasn’t attempted to hide his frustration that after only one win the Irish superstar is right back at No. 1 in the division.
“Justin Gaethje at 170,” said Kavanagh per Ariel Helwani’e MMA Show (H/T MMA Junkie). “That would be my personal preference … because he’s another lightweight. Neither of them have to cut weight and the goal – I’ll be careful with my words here – the kind of vision is to get that 155-pound belt back so it’s a step towards that.”
As for the timing, Kavanagh added there talks of March or April for McGregor’s fight so he’s “definitely going to be competing before the summer.” As for now, McGregor will stay ready and willing should he be called into emergency action for the lightweight crown at UFC 249 in Brooklyn.