New York City’s first foray into the world of mixed martial arts Saturday night was a historic success. From a record-shattering gate at Madison Square Garden ($17.7 million) to, says UFC president Dana White, the promotion’s all-time high for pay-per-view buys, UFC 205 was all it was hyped to be and more.
But the real winner, of course, was Conor McGregor. The bold Irishman made good on his promise to become the first simultaneous two-division champion in UFC history when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez, adding the lightweight crown alongside the featherweight title he won last year.
So what’s next for the king of combat sports? Well, he’s got all the cards, so it’s largely up to him whether he finally defends one of those two belts or keeps the two weight classes in limbo.
Here’s an overview of McGregor’s options for the near future.
Go back to 145
Really, the only unfinished business McGregor has would be to grant Jose Aldo a rematch. Although the champ KO’d Aldo in 13 seconds, it was the Brazilian’s first loss in a decade after years as the dominant champion.
But McGregor doesn’t seem keen on giving Aldo a second chance, despite forcing his way into a rematch after Nate Diaz stunned him earlier this year.
Clean out 155
This is McGregor’s appropriate weight class, so he should leave no doubt that he’s the dominant force of the deepest division in the sport.
After that, Tony Ferguson is a legitimate championship contender. For the record, this title has never been defended successfully three times in a row.
Chase belt No. 3
With a lust for gold, McGregor is just crazy enough to pursue the welterweight title. If he stands his ground, he’ll get what he wants too.
But the two-division champ is too small for 170 pounds, where current champ Tyron Woodley still reigns after a draw Saturday. McGregor’s speed advantage likely wouldn’t be enough for some of the big wrestlers and heavy hitters here.
Maybe McGregor believes he doesn’t need belts to justify his worth. Maybe all he wants is cash — and make no mistake, he does.
To that end, the best path to wealth is making a fight in the ring with boxing great Floyd Mayweather.
Short of that, maybe a superfight against possibly-returning MMA legend George St-Pierre is on the horizon, or a rubber-match against Diaz.