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Can Conor McGregor Still Land An Elite-Level UFC Opponent?

In order to make another statement return in the UFC, Conor McGregor should be able to, as much as possible, find the most worthy opponent available.

Conor McGregor is no stranger to lengthy lay offs and strong comebacks in the UFC. In fact, after losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018, “The Notorious” went on to a more than one-year hiatus only to bounce back with a stunning TKO win over Donald Cerrone in 2020.

However, McGregor’s UFC return fairytale was short-lived. After Cerrone, his ultimate nemesis Dustin Poirier beat him twice in a row with the latest saw him sustaining a horrifying leg injury.

It is yet to be known when McGregor could step inside the UFC octagon once again. The only thing certain at this point is that he is currently undergoing long rehabilitation process.

While in recovery, McGregor unsurprisingly got called out by some great, but not really that great yet, UFC contenders. Among them was former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler.

Shortly after losing to Justin Gaethje at UFC 268, Michael Chandler shockingly set his sights on the sidelined McGregor. On Twitter, the 35-year-old taunted the Irish fighter by posting a photoshopped image of them engaging in an intense pre-fight face-off. McGregor got the message.

It didn’t take long for McGregor to make a response. As expected, he acknowledged Chandler’s invitation and verbally agreed to fight him in 2022. There’s a possibility that the UFC might consider the bout given the pair is both in their 30s and is looking for a comeback win. However, Chandler is not on the same footing as McGregor yet.

Another UFC lightweight who recently poked McGregor is Khamzat Chimaev.

Fresh off his UFC 267 win over Jingliang Li, Chimaev is hoping to land a big shot in the promotion. Aware that he didn’t need to look no further, the unbeaten fighter attempted to lure McGregor to a fight.

However, like Chandler, Chimaev is not yet a championship-caliber fighter.

Looking at McGregor’s situation, it has become apparent that a rematch with his old rivals would be the best option.

Khabib Nurmagomedov should already be scratched off as the Russian MMA star has shown no intensions of making a UFC comeback anytime soon.

Dustin Poirier, meanwhile, might consider a fourth showdown but the narrative could change if “The Diamond” becomes the UFC lightweight champion. Thus, a fight with McGregor is unlikely to get a nod from the promotion.

At this point, McGregor could only hope that the UFC matchmakers hand him a big fight in his return as he is no longer in a great position to make demand.

 

 

UFC, Max Holloway, Teddy Atlas



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