Conor McGregor has fought just four times since rising to the top of the UFC lightweight division almost six years ago. And while “The Notorious” has managed to pick up just one victory over that stretch, his ability to capture the imagination of fight fans has helped keep him in the spotlight.
Indeed, McGregor’s appeal has made him the popular choice among fighters calling out potential opponents.
That has not been lost on the oddsmakers at online sportsbook Sportsbook, who have published a full slate of odds on who the controversial Irishman’s next UFC opponent will be.
After leveling a challenge at McGregor in the wake of his sensational knockout victory over Tony Ferguson at UFC 274, Michael Chandler leads the way as a +150 favorite to be The Notorious’ next opponent.
He is closely followed by recently dethroned UFC lightweight champ Charles Oliveira at +200, while the odds of a third clash with archrival Nick Diaz sit at +450.
Conor McGregor Next Opponent Odds
Odds as of May 13 at Sportsbook
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Chandler An Obvious Favorite, But Will McGregor Accept The Challenge?
Despite falling to defeat in two of his first four UFC clashes, Michael Chandler has largely exceeded expectations in his bid to win over hearts and minds. The former Bellator lightweight champion encountered naysayers who doubted his ability to compete against the UFC’s top 155-pound fighters.
And while he did come up short in entertaining dates with top-ranked lightweights Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje, he has established his credentials by handing both Dan Hooker and Tony Ferguson their first career knockout defeats.
Considering he now enjoys a much higher profile but likely faces a wait before getting another title shot, calling out McGregor makes sense.
However, considering McGregor’s tendency to only agree to fights that he thinks he can win, it is tough seeing this one happen. At least not yet. Chandler demonstrated frightening efficiency in his speedy demolition of both Hooker and Ferguson.
A similar beatdown of McGregor would not be surprising, and would have devastating consequences for the Notorious brand, making this matchup unlikely any time soon.
Oliveira Likely Aiming Higher
Charles Oliveira was quick to mention McGregor in post-fight comments following his submission victory over Gaethje at UFC 274. “Do Bronx” suggested that he could defeat both McGregor and Diaz on the same night, fueling speculation that a big-ticket matchup could be in the works.
But considering that Oliveira was stripped of his UFC lightweight title for missing weight ahead of his win over Gaethje, his primary ambition is likely to reclaim his championship belt.
Indeed, it is reasonable to expect Oliveira to face a far more deserving adversary when he vies to reclaim the UFC lightweight strap, including Gaethje, Chandler and Islam Makhachev. That diminishes the value of odds of any top-ranked lightweight agreeing to face McGregor for the foreseeable future.
Trilogy Matchup With Diaz The Best Bet
Further down the odds to be Conor McGregor’s next opponent is Gaethje at +600, followed by longtime UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman at +850 and Anderson Silva at +900. Jorge Masvidal lags at +950, while McGregor’s old nemesis, Khabib Nurmagomedov, trails as a +2000 long shot.
Usman has been forced to shelf plans for a return to action at UFC 276 after struggling to overcome a recent hand injury. That hasn’t stopped McGregor from calling out the 170-pound champ, whom he has publicly said he hopes to face in a comeback fight sometime this year.
But once again, it seems unlikely that a champion like Usman coming off a long break due to injury would return to defend his title against a long-idle opponent like McGregor. Especially with more deserving contenders like Leon Edwards, Khamzat Chimaev and Belal Muhammad waiting in the wings.
For better or for worse, that makes completing the trilogy against Nick Diaz the most logical next step for McGregor. In addition to guaranteeing a huge PPV audience and corresponding payday, McGregor vs Diaz III would also provide fight fans with a battle between well-matched fighters with lots to prove.