Does Conor McGregor deserve the next shot at the UFC featherweight title?

He “brought all of all of Ireland” with him, and, boy, did they leave happy.

Conor McGregor scored a career-best first round demolition of “The Diamond” Dustin Poirier at UFC 178.

Those overlooking him as another loud-mouthed newcomer with more hype than substance have been effectively proven wrong. McGregor is the real deal, and an MMA fighter with true star potential.

“He’s a legit force” said Dana White in a post-fight discussion with Fox Sports 1 reporter Ariel Helwani, “Bigger than Brock Lesnar”.

Perhaps that’s overdoing it. But perhaps it’s not. I’m not about to waste my time over complicating this matter. McGregor has all of the assets to be a top-tier MMA attraction.

Charisma. Check.

A devout fan base. Check.

People who genuinely dislike him outside the cage, but still respect him for his MMA skills. Check.

A special element that puts him over the top. Check.

Conor McGregor isn’t just an MMA prospect anymore. He’s a top-five contender who just wrecked another top-five contender, beating him senselessly, without thought.

He’s in the title mix. I personally believe that he should take another fight before going in with Jose Aldo, Aldo is no Dustin Poirier. Aldo needs to get past Chad Mendes next month in their rematch before even considering McGregor as well. I would prefer to see McGregor stay active and leave no doubt that he belongs across the cage from Aldo or Mendes.

McGregor has options ahead of his inevitable shot at the belt, he definitely doesn’t have to wait around until his number is called.

A fight with Ricardo Lamas could be exciting to see how he handles a BJJ Black belt, as well as a versatile striker. This could, in some ways, help prepare him for a fight with Jose Aldo, who is about as good as it gets in those areas.

Dennis Bermudez recently capped a seven-fight win streak, beating longtime contender Clay Guida and locking himself in the upper echelon of the division. He would have plenty to offer McGregor as a hungry fighter also in the title running.

Finally, the winner of Frankie Edgar-Cub Swanson, a fight between two of the division’s most exciting fighters, would be an interesting opponent for McGregor, too.

In whatever direction he chooses, Conor McGregor won’t be easy to cope with for any opponent. He’s known for his antics outside the octagon, but, even in the cage, no one can quite figure out how to get past him and his surreal punching power and striking prowess. He’s special, and it will take someone more so to even have a marginal chance at defeating him.


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