What If Conor McGregor Loses At UFC 246 Tonight?

Conor McGregor
Image Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Picture a world where Conor McGregor loses to Donald Cerrone. That very well could become a reality tonight (Jan. 18).

McGregor and Cerrone will collide in the main event of UFC 246. The welterweight contest will be held inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. UFC president Dana White has said that McGregor will receive a shot at the lightweight championship if he can get past “Cowboy.”

While all the stars seem to be aligning for the “Notorious” one to emerge victorious tonight, what if he doesn’t? Here are four possible directions McGregor can go in if he were to lose to Cerrone.

Trilogy Bout With Nate Diaz

Conor McGregor Nate Diaz
Image Credit: Getty Images

It’s safe to say that even if McGregor falls to Cerrone tonight, there would still be demand for a trilogy fight against Nate Diaz. McGregor and Diaz are 1-1 against one another. Diaz submitted McGregor back in March 2016. In August of that same year, McGregor scored a majority decision win in their rematch.

It would probably be the most lucrative matchup McGregor can have coming off another loss as well. Diaz failed to capture the one-time-only BMF championship when he was stopped by Jorge Masvidal back in Nov. 2019. There are only a handful of fights that are likely to excite the Stockton native, this is one of them.

Rematch With Max Holloway

Conor McGregor Max Holloway
Image Credit: Getty Images

When McGregor and Holloway shared the Octagon back in Aug. 2013, they were both young in their UFC runs. Going into the bout, McGregor had just one fight under the UFC banner while Holloway had five fights for the organization. McGregor ended up scoring a unanimous decision victory.

Since that time, McGregor became a UFC “champ-champ” while Holloway captured the featherweight title. Both men are without gold at the start of 2020 but Holloway may very well receive an immediate title rematch against Alex Volkanovski. If that doesn’t work out, then going for unfinished business against “Mystic Mac” could be an enticing option.

Second Showdown With Dustin Poirier

Conor McGregor Dustin Poirier
Image Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie of USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of rematches, Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier 2 certainly has its audience. Similar to the Holloway matchup, McGregor and “The Diamond” collided early in their time with the UFC. While Poirier was three years into his UFC run, he was still far from his peak. McGregor’s star power continued to rise when he stopped Poirier via TKO in the opening frame.

Many argue that Poirier has become a far superior fighter than he once was. He was even able to capture the interim UFC lightweight championship. Fight fans are left to wonder what would happen if the “Notorious” one and “The Diamond” were to be matched up today. Perhaps we’ll find out soon enough.

Retirement

Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor does the money phone pose (via McGregor’s Twitter)

Some are likely to argue that McGregor would still pursue a return to the boxing ring if he loses at UFC 246. The problem is, how likely is it that the big names such as Manny Pacquiao will still see value in fighting someone who hasn’t earned a victory since Nov. 2016? At that point, McGregor’s star power as a combat sports athlete would have to be called into question.

The good news for McGregor would be that he has a boatload of money and he’s got other successful ventures such as his Proper No. 12 whiskey brand. McGregor might see opportunities outside of fighting to be more worthy of his time at this stage.

Stick with MMA News tonight for live coverage of UFC 246. We’ve got you covered with live results, highlights, and post-fight tidbits.