Despite facing the enlarging task of defeating Floyd Mayweather inside of a boxing ring on Aug. 26 from Las Vegas, Nevada, reigning UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor is already planning for the future. After completing a four-city world tour for his upcoming superfight with “Money,” the 29-year-old Irishman spoke about the possibility of fighting undefeated lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov in Russia.
“That’s certainly an option that I’m exploring,” McGregor said after Friday’s press conference in London (captured by MMA Fighting). “That would be a spectacle. It would be like something out of Rocky. I suppose this whole story is like a Rocky story, right? So why not face a man in his home country in a crazy place like Russia?”
This wouldn’t be the first time that McGregor was wrapped up in a Rocky movie.
“It’s certainly something I’d like to do,” McGregor added. “There’s a couple of options on the table. We’ll see what unfolds.”
The other “options” that McGregor is referring to are most likely a trilogy fight with nemesis Nate Diaz, an unlikely showdown with top contender Tony Ferguson, or a potential journey up to 170 pounds. Either way, “Notorious” must make his way back to MMA before any of these wildly interesting scenarios play out.
“I believe so,” McGregor said when asked if he’s returning to the Octagon in 2017. “I believe I’ll come out of this fight without a scratch.”
While it’s highly unlikely that McGregor escapes his summer battle with Mayweather unscathed and hands raised, it’s reassuring to know the biggest star in MMA is planning a return this year. After all, an entire division of seething title seekers await the return of their king.
If McGregor needs any added motivation to return to UFC after landing a potential nine-figure payday opposite Mayweather, he should look to capture his first UFC title defense before he is again stripped.