Conor McGregor has been out of action since his infamous loss against Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018.
But the UFC legend has announced he will return to fight on January 18 in Las Vegas – with an opponent yet to be named.
There’s been run-ins with the law, as well as a never-ending beef with fellow MMA fighters.
Now, the Irishman is ready to get chins wagging about his UFC return and has gone online to hint at potential opponents.
Justin Gaethje is a professional wrestler making moves in the lightweight division. The 30-year old last fought at UFC Vancouver back in September.
He demolished the UFC veteran, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone with a flurry of sucker punches and achieved a first round KO win.
The American fighter is praised as one of the most explosive fighters on the UFC roster.
His caveman-style aggression, ability to absorb damage, and knock-out punching power makes him one of the most entertaining fighters to watch.
Gaejthe is all hands-on deck, but believes McGregor is too scared to face him.
“If he’s (McGregor) going to fight, I definitely want to fight him. He punched an old man in the face. I want to f*** him up for that,” he told ESPN.
“And if I fight him I get to show the world that, and that’s what he doesn’t want.”
‘The Highlight’ currently has no fights lined up in the future. If fans want to see McGregor fight sooner rather than later, who better than the cut-throat American sucker puncher.
Fighting out of tropical Hawaii, Holloway is the current UFC featherweight champion.
At 27-years old, he has an extensive fighting record and has successfully defended his belt against stiff competition.
Since his 2012 UFC debut, ‘Blessed’ has won fans over with his chilled temperament and top-notch fighting.
Like McGregor, Holloway is a father and is accompanied by ‘Mini Blessed’ during interviews and MMA media events.
However, the champion’s son was not old enough to witness his first encounter with Conor McGregor.
The Hawaiian lost by unanimous decision to ‘Mystic Mac’ in 2013. The fight was a devastating blow, but he bounced back from the loss and went on to achieve a 13-fight win streak.
Both fighters have evolved tremendously since their first encounter, so a rematch would be exciting yet hard to predict.
However, Holloway doesn’t believe McGregor is the hungry fighter he once was.
“He doesn’t seem healthy, and he doesn’t sound right,” he said.
“If he comes back and he says, ‘Hey, I beat Max when he was a kid, but I want to beat him in his prime to prove that I’m the best ever,’ then yeah I want the champ. I want that champ. I want that 2015-2016 champ.
“That mentality and that focus, right now it’s just not interesting to me.”
As the name suggests, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier is a UFC gem.
Despite joining the UFC more than eight years ago, his value within the lightweight division has risen massively over the last year.
He initially faced McGregor in September 2014 and lost by knock out in the first round.
However, he has taken on and defeated talented opponents including Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez.
Back in April, Poirier delivered a stellar performance against Max Holloway.
As a result, he earned the unanimous decision victory and a title shot against Khabib Nurmagomedov in his next fight.
‘The Diamond’ fought the Russian champion at UFC 242 in September.
His four-fight win streak ended abruptly as ‘The Eagle’ dominated him in every round and executed a submission that finished the fight.
The valiant loss didn’t damage Poirier’s reputation as he is still considered one of the top lightweight prospects.
When asked about a Conor McGregor face-off Poirier said: “I think it could happen; I don’t know how likely it is.
“I’m still at the top of the division. He’s ranked under me. If he wants to get back to the title, there’s only one way to do that, which is to fight. I’m the next guy in line, so I think it makes a lot of sense.”
The rematch would give Poirier a chance to vindicate his loss against ‘The Notorious’ from 2014.
“My star has never been brighter, and people want to see Conor back, and I think it would be a huge fight, and it would be a huge pay-per-view.
“I just want a fight that’s going to make me excited. I’ve been doing this a long time and not that I’m not motivated, I just want to be excited about it.”
Incredibly, Diaz is yet to win a UFC title. But that doesn’t mean his talent should be overlooked.
‘The Stockton Slapper’ is the only fighter to get his paws on Conor McGregor twice.
They collided in 2016 at UFC 196, and Diaz choked out ‘Mystic Mac’ in the second round.
The pair rematched a few months later, and Conor McGregor won by a majority decision.
The fights proved to be a clash of the titans and Diaz showed he has what it takes to give McGregor a run for his money.
His endurance and fighting intelligence are greatly respected in the MMA community.
Also, the southpaw’s weed-smoking antics, unfiltered trash-talking and relentless brutality earned him the title of UFC ‘Antihero’ by the company president, Dana White.
Diaz’ hands are currently tied to his upcoming bout against Jorge Masvidal on November 2, but a future McGregor trilogy fight could certainly be on the cards.
‘The Notorious’ said he is prepared for a rematch. He even took to Instagram to celebrate their previous fights and commended his opponent.
McGregor said: “I’ll be prepared for it when we go again. If we go again.
“If not, respect always. A war for the ages. No b**** talk. Just real s***.”
Edgar is one of the most experienced fighters that McGregor has touted as a potential opponent.
He has beaten some of the best UFC talent past and present, including BJ Penn, Urijah Faber, and Cub Swanson to name a few.
Unlike some of ‘The Notorious’’ potential rivals, Edgar hasn’t fought McGregor before.
The New Jersey native is waiting for McGregor to make the call and said he would fight him “at any weight class.”
Even McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh is keen for a fight. He describes Edgar as having a “difficult” style that is nonetheless “one we’re familiar with.”
Despite Edgar’s proven track record, his last fight was a loss against Max Holloway. As Edgar looks to gain momentum and bounce back from the disappointing defeat, ‘The Notorious’ could make for a notorious challenge.
A rematch against McGregor’s arch-nemesis and the undisputed lightweight champion would make for a legendary fight.
Nurmagomedov defeated his Irish foe at UFC 229 via a submission neck crank. Their conflict was unprecedented and extended outside the UFC ring. McGregor tried to attack on a bus prior to the fight.
‘The Eagle’ returned the favour by attacking McGregor’s team after UFC 229 by jumping over the Octagon.
The animosity remains as the pair continue to trade insults.
Since their 2018 brawl, Nurmagomedov has tallied another win (vs Dustin Poirier) on his undefeated record.
Recently, he revealed that he only plans to fight a few more times before retiring, so who better for a final face-off than his ultimate adversary.
However, Nurmagomedov’s camp have their sights set on Tony Ferguson and Georges St- Pierre for upcoming fights.