As the dust finally begins to settle following the now infamous UFC 229 main event, the two headlining fighters are preparing to make their next moves. While Conor McGregor has reacted to his disappointing fourth-round stoppage defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov by touring the world promoting his new whiskey label, the victorious Russian appears to have a number of options available to him following his victory. While Nurmagomedov is almost certainly set to be handed some form of punishment for the fracas after his win over McGregor, we know from experience not to expect anything too dramatic from the Las Vegas Commission.
From meeting Floyd Mayweather in a boxing ring to making a return to the octagon early next year to retiring from fighting altogether, the unbeaten Dagestani’s next move has been a subject of huge speculation since the end of UFC 229. So, let’s take a look at what could be next for Nurmagomedov.
The most obvious next step for Nurmagomedov would be to take a rematch with McGregor. The Irishman has lost very little of his star power despite his loss to the Russian and if he made it clear to the UFC that the only fight he’d take would be a rematch against Nurmagomedov, it would be hard for Dana White to refuse the organisation’s biggest ever star. The question is whether there would be a different outcome than when they first met, in a fight that split many punters visiting the likes of Oddschecker to preview the fight from a betting point of view. On the evidence of the first fight, though, it’s hard to see anything other than a repeat.
For the hardcore MMA fans, there is only really one fight that makes sense – the issue is that it’s a fight that the UFC has tried to make four times already. In Tony Ferguson, Nurmagomedov would come up against a man who has not only earned his shot at the lightweight crown, but a fighter who has lost just one of his 15 UFC fights, almost six years ago against an opponent he has beaten since. While Nurmagomedov would likely start the fight as the betting favourite, Ferguson has shown on numerous occasions that he never backs down from a challenge.
The Mayweather Millions
That’s right, the minute Nurmagomedov beat McGregor, who popped up to invite the Russian into the boxing ring – Floyd Mayweather Jr. Keen to end his retirement to face a man who has never had a boxing match, Mayweather has made it clear he would be interested in facing another MMA fighter, just over a year after his historic clash with McGregor. While this would make Nurmagomedov enough money so himself and generations of descendants would never have to work, this seems a highly unlikely next fight for the UFC’s lightweight champion.