If you blinked there is every chance you may have missed Conor McGregor's clinical and devastating return at UFC 246.

The Irishman only needed 40 seconds to defeat MMA legend Donald Cerrone in Las Vegas on Saturday in what was his first bout in the Octagon for 15 months.

Many had predicted a McGregor victory, just maybe not the swift nature of it, and more difficult challenges lie in wait for the 31-year-old.

So just who is next for McGregor? We take a look at six possibilities.

 

JORGE MASVIDAL

A man, like McGregor, whose verbal skills match his technical ability. After a stellar 2019, which brought victories over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz, Jorge Masvidal has frequently tried to catch McGregor's attention, even going as far as to wear the same Versace robe the Irishman donned for his 2017 fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr when in attendance for the Cerrone bout. While 'the Notorious' laughed off that attempt to get under his skin, he once again conceded the prospect of facing Masvidal for the UFC's BMF belt is an interesting one.

NATE DIAZ

It seems unlikely a trilogy fight between McGregor and Nate Diaz will take place in the immediate future but who knows in the MMA game? Their first two encounters in 2016, which were split at one apiece, were among the most lucrative in UFC history. After McGregor's victory over Cerrone, Diaz took to Twitter to call out the event as "fake", prompting a reply from his long-time foe at a post-victory news conference in which he said: "Let's go brother, number three. It's always here, so we are right here Nathan."

KAMARU USMAN

McGregor made history in 2016 by becoming the first fighter in UFC history to hold belts in two divisions at the same time. After successfully stepping up to 170lbs to defeat Cerrone, the chance to hold a third strap at welterweight is sure to be of interest. The man currently in possession of the prize is Kamaru Usman. McGregor called out the Nigerian-American after his victory over Colby Covington last month and Usman has been unsurprisingly open to the idea. An intriguing sub-plot prior to the Cerrone fight was a series of unsavoury Tweets posted from Usman's account aimed at McGregor, though he later insisted he was hacked. 

KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV 

There was bad blood in and out of the Octagon when McGregor and unbeaten lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov first waged war in October 2018. On that occasion, Khabib submitted McGregor before an all-out melee marred the win. McGregor has clamoured for another opportunity, while UFC president Dana White said of the possibility: "It's the fight you make, it's the fight that makes sense." Certainly, there would be plenty of eager eyes on this one.

MANNY PACQUIAO

In the immediate future, it looks as though McGregor still has goals in UFC he wants to accomplish. But prior to beating Cerrone, he made no secret of a desire to win a boxing world title and revealed talks were ongoing to face Filipino great Manny Pacquiao. Even at the ripe old age of 41, Pacquiao remains as active as ever and defeated Keith Thurman via a split decision to win the WBA Super welterweight champion last July. 

FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR

It was one of the most lucrative fights in history when these two first danced together in a Las Vegas super fight in August 2017. McGregor vowed to avenge his defeat to 'Money' if a rematch were to happen, and Mayweather teased the possibility on Instagram when he mocked up a poster that read "Mayweather McGregor 2, 2020". Addressing that after the fight, McGregor said "that rematch will happen at some stage". Perhaps this one really is a matter of when, not if. 

Conor McGregor would be "honoured" to do battle with Manny Pacquiao in what he believes would be a blockbuster first fight at the Las Vegas Allegiant Stadium.

McGregor will make his UFC return against Donald Cerrone in Las Vegas on Saturday, 15 months after he was beaten by Khabib Nurmagomedov in his last bout.

The 31-year-old Irishman is also hungry to don the boxing gloves again and has called out Floyd Mayweather Jr, who he stopped in the 10th round of their fight in August 2017, for a rematch.

McGregor this week revealed talks with another legendary veteran, Pacquiao, are ongoing and would relish the chance to do battle with the 41-year-old in 60,000 capacity Nevada venue that is still being constructed. 

"It will be hard to leave the MMA game fully but I think a boxing world title is a great aspiration to have," said the mixed martial arts superstar.

"What a feather in the cap it would be. I always want bigger and better and to reach for the stars.

"I would love the rematch with Floyd Mayweather and I know the Manny one is there whenever I want it."

He added: "I would be honoured and love to be the first combatant to fight in that arena and what a fight that would be against a small and powerful southpaw.

"We would have to figure out the weight we do it at but it interests me, no doubt."

Choosing boxing's pound-for-pound king is no easy feat at the best of times. Trying to do so over a decade is trickier still.

It is a debate that, due to its subjectivity, does not really have a true answer, but try stopping fans and pundits from arguing the toss anyway.

The 2010s have been a truly golden era for the sport with legacies cemented and legends born.

But just who has been the best of the best over the last 10 years? Here, we rank our top 10 pound-for-pound kings of the decade.

1) FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR

'Money' has not fought in a meaningful bout since 2015 (forget about that contest with Conor McGregor – we all should), but still merits a place at the top of these rankings. The American's list of scalps since 2010 is impressive, to say the least. It includes: Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Marcos Maidana (twice), Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and, of course, Manny Pacquiao.

Timing was key for Mayweather – and not just in terms of his fighting style. He took on Canelo when he was still to hit his peak, while he kept Pacquiao – and boxing fans for that matter – waiting. Still, you should not overlook his achievements. Floyd was a genius in the ring, with his brilliant defensive technique nullifying opponents. This was the decade when he sealed his status as one of the all-time greats.

The Sweet Science pic.twitter.com/OFRssPx1Wi

— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) October 3, 2019

2) ANDRE WARD

If not for a period of promotional paralysis in the middle of the decade, Ward would probably be top of this list. However, after an infuriating four-year spell of his prime that took in relatively inconsequential bouts against Edwin Rodriguez, Paul Smith and Sullivan Barrera, the 'Son of God' brought things home in style.

Having reigned supreme during a golden era for the super-middleweight division, beating the likes of Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch and a stepping-down Chad Dawson to establish himself as the undisputed number one, Ward went north to light-heavyweight. Never the biggest puncher in his natural weight class, he pulled himself up off the canvas to outfox the ferocious Sergey Kovalev and become a two-weight world champion. In their rematch – via some legal body shots and some not-so-legal – Ward bullied the bully to an eighth-round stoppage, walking away with an unblemished 32-fight record and nothing left to prove.

3) VASYL LOMACHENKO

Arguably the finest amateur of all-time, Lomachenko has lived up to and probably surpassed such a billing in the paid ranks. He boxed for a world title in only his second fight, dropping a split decision to the Orlando Salido. The roughhousing Mexican unleashed a monster in his moment of triumph, persuading Lomachenko to embellish his unparalleled skills with a vengeful streak.

Victory over Gary Russell Jr. next time out secured the WBO featherweight title and the 31-year-old has since blazed an irresistible trail through three divisions, racking up 10 knockouts in 14 wins. Fellow former amateur standout Guillermo Rigondeaux, Nicholas Walters, Jorge Linares, Jose Pedraza and Luke Campbell are included on an impressive list of scalps Lomachenko holds three of the four main lightweight belts and will aim to become undisputed king of division a man of his dimensions has little business competing in, never mind cleaning out, against Teofimo Lopez in 2020.

4) SAUL 'CANELO' ALVAREZ

Boxing's biggest draw remains a divisive figure. A six-month ban following two failed drugs test for clenbuterol in 2018 – Alvarez protested his innocence, citing contaminated meat – compounded his standings with fans who point towards a carefully managed career and some arguable generous scorecards in his favour.

Nevertheless, the four-weight world champion's body of work is undeniably impressive and now places him towards the upper-reaches of Mexico's proud boxing tradition. Canelo iced Kovalev to become only the fourth fighter to win titles at both light-middleweight and light-heavyweight, following in the footsteps of 'Sugar' Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Mike McCallum. Since his schooling beneath Mayweather's educated fists in 2013, Alvarez has blossomed. Whether or not his gripping rivalry with Gennadiy Golovkin gets a third act, further defining nights lie ahead.

5) TERENCE CRAWFORD

A phenomenally skilled southpaw, Crawford is possibly the most complete fighter competing in any weight class today. He headed into the lion's den to win a first world title in 2014, outboxing Ricky Burns with a quicksilver display before the champion's fiercely loyal supporters in Glasgow.

Content with the WBO belt at 135lbs, Crawford stepped up to light-welterweight and won the lot, becoming undisputed champion with a three-round demolition of the previously undefeated Julius Indongo. Welterweight beckoned and the American unseated Jeff Horn in his first outing in the division. Operating outside of the PBC stable has made legacy enhancing fights at 147lbs hard to come by and we must hope for a final act worthy of the 36-0 32-year-old's glittering career.

6) ROMAN 'CHOCOLATITO' GONZALEZ

Gonzalez lost his air of invincibility with back-to-back defeats to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2017, the second of them by stoppage as he was knocked out cold, yet the Nicaraguan made boxing history in the decade by winning world titles at all four of the lowest weight classes.

Small in stature but big in terms of power, Gonzalez has made a habit of stopping opponents inside the distance. However, he had no problem going the distance in a thrilling slugfest with Carlos Cuadras in September 2016, winning on the scorecards to dethrone the WBC super-flyweight champion. Inactivity in recent years has seen his career stall, but at 32 there is still plenty of time to rise back to the top.

7) GENNADIY GOLOVKIN

A not-insignificant number of observers feel Golovkin was hard done by in both his split-decision draw and majority-decision loss to bitter rival Alvarez, but his vice-like grip on the middleweight division is no more and an unexpected thriller again Sergiy Derevyanchenko gave another hint at growing vulnerabilities.

Even if Golovkin is on the slide – as would be expected at 37 – he is still a deeply unpleasant night's work for anybody. He spent the bulk of the decade amassing a record-equalling run of 20 consecutive middleweight world title defences, while a 24-fight knockout streak made good on his claims of always providing a "big drama show". There were few more visceral thrills in 2010s boxing than Golovkin.

8) MANNY PACQUIAO 

It would have been a brave punter who suggested placing Pacquiao on this list after Juan Manuel Marquez left him face down and motionless on a Las Vegas canvas in December 2012. The duo's undulating rivalry ended with an emphatic exclamation mark, but Pacquiao was far from done.

He avenged his farcically judged points loss to Timothy Bradley comprehensively, meaning the superfight with Floyd Mayweather belatedly arrived – too late for Pacquiao, as it happened. Nevertheless, bouts against relatively lesser mortals did not present so much of a problem, even after shoulder surgery. A 2017 loss to Jeff Horn was not the end, just a needless blot surrounded by wins over Jessie Vargas, Lucas Matthysse, Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman for this remarkable 41-year-old.

9) NAOYA INOUE

The old boxing adage that you don't get paid for overtime was certainly taken to heart by Inoue in the 2010s. If fans blinked, they could miss him; if opponents blinked they usually found themselves flat on their backs.

A three-weight world champion since picking up the WBA bantamweight crown, Inoue's outings at the weight featured one completed round – Emmanuel Rodriguez making it to the second session after Jamie McDonnell and Juan Carlos Payano were unable to see out the opener – before November's instant classic against the great Nonito Donaire, where the 26-year-old prevailed over the course of 12 action-packed and legacy-enhancing rounds. Las Vegas awaits in April for a superstar in the making.

10) OLEKSANDR USYK

As lavishly skilled, unorthodox and dangerous as his great friend and Ukrainian compatriot Lomachenko, Usyk wasted no time in bending the cruiserweight division to his will. Krzysztof Glowacki, Michael Hunter, Marco Huck, Mairis Briedis and Murat Gassiev were all systematically taken apart en route to undisputed status before Usyk left former champion Tony Bellew splayed out helplessly to leave no doubt over who was the man at 200lbs.

Weight limits are now a thig of the past for the 32-year-old as he moves up confidently to the land of the giants. As Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury all bicker over their claims for heavyweight supremacy, do not be surprised if the sensational Usyk manages to pickpocket them all on his way to glory and greatness.

When Evan Holyfield makes his professional debut on the undercard of Sergey Kovalev and Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez's blockbuster WBO light-heavyweight clash it will not be the family affair it was the first time he pulled on boxing gloves in public.

Holyfield is the son of all-time cruiserweight and heavyweight great Evander Holyfield, while his brother Elijah is part of the Carolina Panthers practice squad on his rookie season in the NFL.

When they were children, there was briefly a possibility of Elijah following his sibling's career path – naturally with some final pointers from their father and a touch of sparring before entering the Georgia Games - a community multi-sport event in their home state.

"We both had our first fight on the same day," Evan recalled when talking to Omnisport. "We were eight years old and it was just me and him.

"My Dad brought us downstairs and taught us the 'one-two' and, before you know it, me and Elijah were having our first fight.

"We ended up in a tournament on the same day at the Georgia Games."

Evan and Elijah, both 21, remain close as they aim to write the next chapters in the story of one of America's most famous sporting names

"All our other brothers and sisters are older and there's a couple younger than us - he [Elijah] was like my best friend," Evan said.

"We have a really good relationship. I Facetime him often and we always ask each other what's going on with our football and boxing.

"At this point I feel like I'm one of his big fans as well as his brother. I just get a kick out of watching him as a football player. I'm really proud of him."

It will be Elijah's turn to play loyal supporter when Evan steps through the ropes at the MGM Grand against fellow novice Nick Winstead, who was stopped on his own debut five months ago.

Campaigning in the light-middleweight division means Holyfield Jr takes his stylistic cues a little further away from home than a father who reigned during one of the most celebrated era for boxing's big men in the 1990s.

"The person I most look up to other than my father when it comes to boxing is Manny Pacquiao," he said. "I grew up watching him and besides my Dad he's the one person who really got me into boxing.

"I feel like I take a lot of stuff from him, including his footwork. Even though his speed and combinations are realty hard to duplicate, I try to work on that too.

"I also take stuff from 'Sugar' Ray Leonard, 'Sugar' Ray Robinson – all those people and try and mix it in and make something that's my own."

When it comes to his son's boxing career, Evander has been happy to take a back seat and hand over the reins to esteemed trainer and former light-welterweight contender Maurice 'Termite' Watkins.

In Evan's eyes, the four-time heavyweight ruler was always a parent first and a superstar fighter second.

"When I think of my father as a boxer, it actually took a couple of years for it to soak in and for me to really understand him as a boxer," he added. "When I was younger I really only saw him as a father.

"It was only when I got into boxing and really started to study boxing that it really hit me – him as a legend.

"I have memories of going to some of his fights but I was about eight or nine and wasn't really into it.

"A couple of years down the line I was watching all his fights, studying and asking questions. Now I know him as a person and a fighter."

Getting to know Evan Holyfield as a fighter is a process the boxing fraternity will begin with no little excitement at the MGM Grand.

Amir Khan claims he was misled before proclaiming a November fight against Manny Pacquiao was agreed.

Pacquiao's camp last week dismissed suggestions the Filipino great had agreed to fight Khan in Saudi Arabia.

The fight Khan has long looked for seemed to be on when he said 40-year-old Pacquiao had agreed to a November 8 date, but the British fighter now says he was fed incorrect information.

"Before the last press conference I was told the contracts between myself and Manny Pacquiao had been signed," Khan told Sky Sports. "This is from a company I've worked with called Super Boxing League, who I'm a chairman of as well.

"My advisers told me the fight is signed, so I went on and announced the fight was signed and hopefully we're looking at it maybe later in the year. Obviously then Manny comes back and says the fight's not happening.

"It's just one of those things. I'd love to have that fight. If it's not there for me, then it's not there for me. I have a date, November 8, in Saudi Arabia - Riyadh - and I’ll be focusing on that."

Khan, who defeated Billy Dib in Jeddah earlier this month, now needs to focus on ensuring his advisers get ink on the contract for his next opponent.

"I'd love it to be Manny Pacquiao," added Khan, whose record stands at 34-5. "If it's not Manny Pacquiao, we move on to someone else."

Floyd Mayweather Jr offered a cutting response to the challenge of a rematch with Manny Pacquiao, dismissing the Filipino as his "employee".

Pacquiao (62-7-2) defeated WBA welterweight world champion Keith Thurman in Las Vegas last week, with Mayweather, who boasts a 50-0 record and beat his fellow great in 2015, in attendance.

But the American was not impressed by mention of him in reporting of Pacquiao's victory, prompting an incredible social media back-and-forth.

Mayweather first posted a lengthy message on Instagram, saying in part: "I find it real ironic how every time Pacquiao's name is brought up in the media, my name is always attached to it.

"This man's entire legacy and career has been built off its association with my name and it's about time you all stop using my brand for clout chasing and clickbait and let that man's name hold weight of its own.

"For years, all you heard was that 'Floyd is afraid of Manny Pacquiao'. But what's funny is, when we finally fought, I won so easily that everyone had to eat their words!"

That led to a response from Pacquiao on Twitter in which he appeared to ask for a rematch.

"@FloydMayweather, you come to my fight and then use my name in a post but I'm the one that is trying to stay relevant?" he wrote. "If you want to be relevant again... #MayPac2"

But Mayweather came back in devastating fashion.

The 42-year-old, who last fought competitively against Conor McGregor in 2017, took to Instagram again and wrote: "Bottom line, I make more money than you; I beat you, then I signed you!

"I was only at your fight supervising you, my employee, as any real BOSS would do. You made $10million for 12 rounds, when I just made $9m in under three minutes playing around in an exhibition with a pizza delivery guy!

"I beat you mentally, physically and financially! Remember, you fight because you have to, I fight when I want to!"

Mayweather knocked out Tenshin Nasukawa in an exhibition on New Year's Eve, with Pacquiao calling out his old foe three weeks later.

Pacquiao's camp have denied claims from Amir Khan the pair have agreed a fight in November.

Manny Pacquiao turned back the clock as the Filipino legend claimed the WBA welterweight championship after scoring a split-decision win against Keith Thurman.

Pacquiao (62-7-2) produced an impressive performance against the previously unbeaten Thurman at MGM Grand, where two judges had the fight 115-112 in favour of the 40-year-old veteran.

One judge scored the welterweight bout 114-113 to Thurman (29-1), who was knocked down by Pacquiao in the opening round on Saturday.

Thurman – who was the WBA Super holder – had vowed to send Pacquiao into retirement but the latter showed he still has plenty left in the tank.

Pacquiao retained his WBA Regular welterweight crown with a unanimous-decision victory over Adrien Broner in January and he stormed out of the blocks at the iconic American venue.

After being sent to the canvas in the first round, Thurman recovered well as he soaked up Pacquiao's punches, but he was unable to snap his opponent's dominance.

The aggressor as he trailed on points, American Thurman took the fight to Pacquiao in the middle rounds, however, he was hurt with a big body shot in the 10th and he was unable to preserve his unbeaten status.

"It was fun," Pacquiao said afterwards. "He's a good fighter, a good boxer, he's strong. He did his best, I did my best, we made the people happy.

"I really love the fans, thank you so much for coming here and witnessing the fight. I'm sure you're happy tonight, you saw a great fight. I am just blessed tonight.

"I think my next fight is next year. After this fight I am going back to Philippines to do some work."

Manny Pacquiao's camp have dismissed suggestions from Amir Khan that the Filipino great has agreed to a fight in Saudi Arabia in November.

Khan announced on Tuesday that "both parties have signed the fight off" for Riyadh on November 8, suggesting only an injury to Pacquiao in his clash with Keith Thurman could scupper the planned bout.

But with Pacquiao firmly focused on taking on Thurman for the WBA welterweight title in Las Vegas on Saturday, his team have spoken on his behalf to reject Khan’s claim.

Sean Gibbons, president of MP Promotions, told BoxingScene.com: "The Amir Khan fight is news to us."

Fred Sternburg, Pacquiao's publicist, also stated no deal has been completed, telling The National: "Manny has not signed a contract for that fight."

Multi-weight world champion Pacquiao, now 40, boasts a 61-7-2 record and has long been a target for Khan, who defeated Billy Dib in Jeddah last week.

Amir Khan says Manny Pacquiao has agreed to face him in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on November 8, provided the Filipino great comes through his fight with Keith Thurman unscathed.

The 40-year-old Pacquiao (61-7-2) is set to face Thurman for the WBA Super welterweight title in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Ahead of that contest, Khan, who improved his record to 34-5 by easing past late stand-in Billy Dib in Jeddah last week, said a deal is in place with Pacquiao's team.

"Hopefully we can get that fight," the Briton told iFL TV. "Both parties have signed the fight off, but hopefully he comes out of there in one piece on the weekend against Keith Thurman, which is a hard fight for him.

"If Manny comes out of this fight safe and sound without any injuries, I think that'll be the next one."

Asked what will happen if Pacquiao loses to Thurman, Khan added: "I still think it's a big fight out there. Because Saudi wants to see Manny Pacquiao, Saudi wants to see me again.

"Let's see what happens. At the moment, I think the Saudis want the Pacquiao fight more than any other name."

Prior to his facile victory over Dib, Khan was previously in action in April, when he lost in controversial fashion to Terence Crawford, a low blow bringing the WBO welterweight title bout to a premature end.

Khan has long courted a fight with multi-weight world champion Pacquiao, who will face Thurman this weekend having revived his career with victories over Lucas Matthysse and Adrien Broner following a shock loss to Jeff Horn in 2017.

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