Five fights for Conor McGregor as Dana White hints UFC 300 clash with Michael Chandler may not happen

CONOR MCGREGOR was set to be welcomed back to the octagon by Michael Chandler – but there are now serious doubts whether the showdown will happen.

Fan favourite Chandler has patiently sat out the last year waiting to get his hands on the UFC‘s poster boy, who was his rival coach on season 31 of The Ultimate Fighter.

GETTYConor McGregor is set to make his UFC return next year[/caption]

The Notorious was set to be welcomed back to the octagon by Michael ChandlerTWITTER@THENOTORIOUSMMA

GETTYUFC president Dana White has seemingly refused to fully commit to the fight[/caption]

But doubts over him welcoming the Irishman back to the cage have continued to grow with each passing month.

And Dana White‘s recent suggestion the fight is by no means guaranteed will have alarm bells ringing in the head of the former Bellator lightweight champion

White told The Nelk Boys: “100 per cent he fights next year.

“We’ll see [who he fights], we’ll see. The timing of when it goes down.

“The good thing for guys like Chandler, and there’s a lot of s**t talk of fighter pay and all that other s**t, you don’t see these guys hurrying up to fight.

Jon Jones takes off for f***ing years, Chandler can hang out and wait for f***ing Conor.

“When you think about Chandler, Chandler was f***ing fighting in Bellator.

“Now, Chandler can just sit around and take his time and wait for Conor however long it takes.”

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So with that in mind, SunSport thought it’d only be right to reveal the five most likely fights for The Notorious should he not face Iron Mike…

Max Holloway

McGregor has unfinished business with several fighters on the UFC roster – including long-reigning former featherweight champion Max Holloway.

The pair locked horns with one another ten years ago when they were fresh-faced 25 and 21-year-olds.

Both men have openly talked about a rematch in recent years and fan interest is there, so a second showdown on the UFC’s upcoming and historic UFC 300 card would be very sellable.

GETTYConor McGregor and Max Holloway fought one another ten years ago[/caption]

Dustin Poirier

Former two-division champion McGregor has been itching for a fourth showdown with long-time rival Dustin Poirier from the moment he broke his left leg in their trilogy fight two-and-a-half years ago.

McGregor’s horrific injury in their Las Vegas trilogy fight saw him fall 2-1 behind Poirier in their near decade-long rivalry.

UFC chief executive White was keen on booking a fourth fight – which Poirier recently opened the door to – between the pair in the aftermath of McGregor’s career-threatening injury.

And the bad blood which remains between both men would see plenty of fight fans, casual and hardcore alike, tune in for the fight.

ReutersConor McGregor is 2-1 down in his series with Dustin Poirier[/caption]

Justin Gaethje

Bad blood is something McGregor also has with BMF champion Justin Gaethje, who has questioned the Dubliner’s skills as a father on numerous occasions.

McGregor has held on to those below-the-belt jibes and vowed to make Gaethje – who he called out in August – pay for them.

Gaethje is currently without an opponent following his August head kick KO of Poirier, so he’s very much in contention to fight McGregor should Chandler not get the nod.

GETTYJustin Gaethje is also a contender to welcome Conor McGregor back to the cage[/caption]

Nate Diaz

McGregor and Diaz, 35 and 38, took part in two of the biggest fights in UFC history in 2016.

The score in their epic series – which kicked off with a shock submission win for Diaz at UFC 196 – is level at one win apiece.

MMA fans feared their trilogy fight had died a death when Diaz left the UFC last November, although the fan favourite has re-opened the door to returning to the promotion.

Free agent Diaz – who boxed Jake Paul in August – is a massive star in his own right and his return to the MMA leader would do close to a million buys.

So combine that with a trilogy fight with McGregor on UFC 300 and the promotion would be on to a monster pay-per-view card.

GETTYConor McGregor and Nate Diaz also have unfinished business[/caption]

Islam Makhachev

It’s an extraordinarily long shot that McGregor – who hasn’t tasted victory in nearly four years – be given a crack at lightweight champion Islam Makhachev.

But stranger things have happened in the sport – plus there is already an in-built storyline between the pair.

Pound-for-pound king Makhachev is the protege of McGregor’s bitter rival and retired lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The Russian, additionally, tried to plant one on McGregor after storming the cage in the infamous UFC 229 post-fight brawl.

Makhachev has refused to shut down the prospect of ever facing his mentor’s old nemesis, meaning there is the smallest of chances they could one day share the cage.

GETTYIslam Makhachev is an outsider contender to welcome Conor McGregor back to the UFC[/caption]