By Kyler Kuehler
After an epic knockout victory over the number one pound-for-pound fighter Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor has become the first Irish Champion to ever compete inside the octagon of the UFC and is now labeled as the face of the company. In his short career he has already accomplished many things and has become one of the best, if not the best, knockout striker in the UFC Featherweight division. Now that he has captured UFC gold and looks to gain a large paycheck from his performance probably around $12 million, fans now can only wonder what is next for the newly crowned king of the featherweights?
McGregor is still young and has a long career ahead of him, but he still will want to continue to make a name for himself and go down as one of the best fighters to ever compete in the sport of mixed-martial arts. With his intense striking and accurate timing McGregor looks to be unstoppable and will possibly clear out the rest of the division, but he may still have some competition left.
One possible opponent that has recently called out the winner of Aldo vs. McGregor is the former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar, who deserves a title shot after losing to Jose Aldo at UFC 156 and then coming back on a great winning streak with his last two wins over big names, Urijah Faber and Chad Mendes. Yes, Edgar looks to be a man that could give McGregor a fight since he has never been finished in a fight and with the fact that he is a former champion he knows what game plan it takes to be a champion and where their best weaknesses lie.
Another opponent could be fellow Irishman Joseph Duffy, who is, of course a lightweight competitor, is one of only two fighters that have successful defeated McGregor and knows some of his weaknesses already. Now that McGregor holds the championship it might be enough to convince Duffy to move down to the featherweight division to try and capture the gold himself and prove that he is the true Irishman of the UFC. Though those two losses were earlier in his career and McGregor has improved greatly and so he is not the same man he use to be. Just because Duffy defeated him once does not mean he can’t do it again.
Chad Mendes is also another opponent for him even though McGregor has already faced and defeated him he still could be another challenge for him all from his wrestling background that showed to be very effective in the first round, which had some fans wondering if McGregor would be able to stand with a wrestler. In Round 2 McGregor came back after losing the first and knocked out Mendes proving to everyone that he could stand with a wrestler. Though some would argue that a rematch would be necessary to watch since Mendes was given a short notice to prepare and believe that he was not at his full potential heading into the fight.
Finally, another opponent for McGregor could be, of course, former champion Jose Aldo even though McGregor knocked him out in only 13 seconds into the first round, one can argue that a rematch would be acceptable all due to the fact that Aldo was the first UFC Featherweight Champion and had seven successful titled defenses and had been undefeated for ten years (after his first loss). Now the rematch would probably not be very different from the first fight, which most of the time is true, but in the UFC and MMA anything can happen.
For all the possible opponents McGregor could face to try to improve his stardom it is only best for him to just sit back and let the names come his way and let the UFC decide who deserves the first crack at the new champion.