If all goes according to plan, sometime this year, we will witness the biggest UFC fight of all-time. UFC president Dana White confirmed Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor will get a chance to face the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 for the lightweight championship on April 18. All accounts are Nurmagomedov will dispatch Ferguson, and anyone betting against that line is probably drinking a bit too much of the El Cucuy’s tequila. Grab the popcorn, crack the beers, amass the troops, we are in for a doozy of a rematch between the Russian and the Irishman. This will be what many believe is a fight that could rival McGregor’s boxing match against Floyd Mayweather when it comes to dollars, cents, trash talking, Twitter feuds, assault charges and general skulduggery. Or wait … will we? Digging deeper into White comments during his appearance on The Will Cain Show offers an interesting asterisk and alternative hypothesis – that the fight has been offered and is nowhere near being signed in blood. “I don’t know what else makes sense but who knows with that kid,” said White, who said McGregor told him waiting until the fall to fight the winner is not his cup of whisky. “The reason everybody loves him so much is who knows who he will say. He’ll say, ‘I want to fight this guy now’, some other weight class or whatever it might be but – he keeps it fun.” The earliest this rematch could potentially take place is September, according to White, and could run into November given Nurmagomedov, who is Muslim, has to factor in Ramadan after his Ferguson tilt. In UFC years, even five months is a long time and a lot can happen between now and when the autumn leaves come out. What this sounds like is competing interests. White said during the post-match press conference for UFC 246 in January, where McGregor assaulted Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at 170 (lightweight), that Nurmagomedov vs McGregor “is the fight you make”. Meanwhile, the man with his ear to the ground when it comes to McGregor, his coach John Kavanagh definitely liked what he saw from McGregor at UFC 246 . “I don’t see the reason for him to cut weight unless there’s a belt on the line, otherwise why would he do it?” Kavanagh said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “So stay at this weight, don’t cut weight, and then when the big ones come along shed the last 15 pounds.” For 40 seconds during UFC 246, McGregor bullied Cowboy like it was recess and Cerrone had all his lunch money in his pockets. To put it in layman’s terms, he looked like he’d been fighting at welterweight all his life, and Cerrone looked like he’d been bumped up a weight class last minute and pounded some protein shakes to get up to speed. McGregor was muscular, vibrant, full of life and vitality, exploding with energy, something fighters can struggle with if they cut a drastic amount of weight to make weigh-in. McGregor, to the naked eye, looked like a fighter who naturally walks around at 170 who hit the steam room for a few minutes. So the question remains partially unanswered; could, and more importantly, should McGregor stay at 170 (the max weight for welterweight) instead of dropping back to lightweight (145-155) where his arch nemesis lies in Nurmagomedov? While both are potentials, you can be certain McGregor is most definitely mulling multiple options given he is back amid the cream of the crop when it comes to MMA draws. UFC: Dana White confirms Usman vs Masvidal bout in July Everyone is pining for the rematch between the Russian lightweight champion and the Irishman, but an equally tantalising option has now been offered at the buffet table. Is new McGregor, who fought for the first time this January since October 2018, doing what fighters naturally do as they age and gaining mass? Would cutting down to 155, which would be 15 pounds from his Cerrone fight weight, to face off against an undefeated champion that previously manhandled him on the ground be a sane idea? McGregor knows he is in tough when it comes to belts, as each title holder within his catch weight is a viscous, legitimate champion. Title cards for him would not be a Sunday stroll like it was against Cerrone, they would require the best of him, not simply less than a minute of him. Cerrone is a formidable fighter, but nowhere near the best marker of prowess when it comes to the welterweight division, which is why there are still a lot of questions about the new, heavier McGregor. That honour goes to none other than champion “Nigerian Nightmare” Kamaru Usman, who famously took to the Joe Rogan Experience podcast post UFC 246 to state what he thinks is the obvious, that fighting McGregor “wouldn’t be fair” and he “would do bad things to him”. “I’m not just going to take him down,” said Usman about the hypothetical tilt, “I’m going to march forward, I’m going to hit this guy, I’m going to beat on him.” There’s a lot of white noise around where McGregor will go next, but I tend to go back to a tweet he sent during the middle of his Cerrone training camp, probably when he was feeling his best, above 170, healthy, eating full meals and sparring against fellow physical doppelgängers to try to mimic what he might expect against Cowboy. McGregor, who had just watched Usman beat Colby Covington at UFC 245 in December, sent out a straight to the point message: “144. 155. 170.” The problem is, anyone who watched UFC 245 knows what happened, Usman showed why his toughness and punching power are so revered. The southpaw appeared to hurt his left hand in the first round, then switched to an orthodox stance, and ended up going all the way to the fifth round against the American in a fight where both combatants did serious damage to one another. Usman broke his opponent’s jaw and, late in the fifth, exhibited serious championship mentality in coming out on top with a TKO more than 20 minutes into a massive slugfest. 145. 155. 170. — Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) December 15, 2019 Why McGregor watched that fight and thought, “Hey, I can do that, no sweat” is anyone’s guess, but we have now learned that doubting McGregor version 2.0 is not a sound bet. Outside Usman, there are some tantalising fights at 170 for McGregor, which he would actually be favoured to win. There’s Justin Gaethje or Nate Diaz, two tilts that would still help the UFC’s bottom line remarkably. Let’s be honest, Conor McGregor fighting an Ikea desk lamp would draw heavy pay-per-view numbers; the opponent is irrelevant unless it is none other than Nurmagomedov. So, Conor, pick your poison, head to the sauna, or stay in the gym. Cut weight or stay jacked. Head for redemption against your arch nemesis or throw us some bones at welterweight. The MMA world is waiting for your decision with bated breath.