Conor McGregor
McGregor has been criticised for not defending his title in the past, eventually being stripped of the featherweight title Getty


  • Conor McGregor is expected to defend his title against interim champion Tony Ferguson.
  • However, the Irishman could end up facing Nate Diaz in a big-money trilogy fight.
  • Owen Roddy believes the lightweight champion's striking will overwhelm "El Cucuy".

Conor McGregor's striking coach Owen Roddy has weighed up two of the Irishman's options for a potential opponent in his UFC return fight.

Since winning the lightweight title, McGregor took a hiatus before pursuing a big-money boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, which he eventually ended up losing via 10th-round stoppage on 26 August.

Now ready to return to the octagon, the lightweight champion is ideally expected to defend his title against Tony Ferguson, who became the new interim lightweight champion at UFC 216.

However, there is a possibility that McGregor fights Nate Diaz instead for a third time in what would be a more lucrative match-up given that the duo's rivalry contributed to the company's most successful card at UFC 202 when they fought back in August 2016.

Roddy praised Ferguson as an exciting and aggressive fighter but believes a match-up would result in "El Cucuy" being overwhelmed by McGregor's striking ability.

"His style is, you know, it's not traditional, it's a bit unorthodox and stuff, but I just honestly think that Conor's going to be way too clean for Ferguson," Roddy told Submission Radio.

"If Ferguson tries to stand with Conor for an extended period of time, it will be lights out, in my opinion. You know, he's tough as well, he's tough and durable, so he may take a couple of smacks, but at the end of the day, Conor's going to be way too clean and too technical to... he won't get touched.

"That's my opinion. But yeah, it will be an interesting one and it will be an exciting fight as well because Ferguson does come to fight and he's aggressive, he goes in, he looks to finish fights, so it will be exciting. But yeah, without a doubt, if he wants to stand and bang with Conor, it'll be lights out fairly quick, I think."

Roddy would like to see the 29-year-old Irishman face Diaz instead in a trilogy fight as he believes it is what the fans want to see, but refused to rule out a potential first title defence against Ferguson.

"I honestly think that people would rather – like, I think people would rather see Conor vs. Diaz," he added. "I just think it's a more exciting fight for everybody. It's the trilogy.

"The first two fights, the back and forth between the guys and the way the fights went – you know, who wouldn't want to see the third fight? But, of course, it makes sense that he fights (Ferguson), he defends the belt.

"Whatever happens, I don't know, but I said this already: I would like to see (McGregor-Diaz 3). The Ferguson fight is an interesting one as well. Like, he's an exciting fighter. So it will be an exciting fight. So either or, either or."