Conor McGregor and Jorge Masvidal

Former UFC heavyweight champion Bas Rutten believes Jorge Masvidal should be Conor McGregor’s next opponent.

McGregor returned to action for the first time in 15 months when he comfortably defeated Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds during their UFC 246 headliner earlier this month.

Wanting to remain active in 2020, McGregor has plenty of options for his next fight, and not only in mixed martial arts. The Irishman even claimed that there was a deal in place to fight boxing legend Manny Pacquaio at one point.

Ideally, that would be the choice for McGregor as it would be the most lucrative option by far. Rutten agrees as well, but when it comes to mixed martial arts, he feels the big money is with a Masvidal fight.

“I think if he’s a smart man, he does Pacman, right? That’s another 80 million dollars in his pocket, because this guy’s a great promoter,” Rutten told Submission Radio. “But I think he loves to collect belts, right? Masvidal, man. You got the BMF. Then you have two UFC titles in two different weight classes, and you have the BMF title. I think that’s pretty cool.

“And Masvidal, he’s a handful. This guy’s super explosive. I mean, look at him. In his last seven fights, I believe there’s only one decision, the rest is knockouts. And he fought some great guys. I think that would be a fight, that would probably beat any record. I truly believe that. Especially the way they hyped it up with [Nate] Diaz and Masvidal, and everybody was watching the show. Now imagine McGregor against Masvidal. Because Masvidal, he’s got over a million followers as well I saw. I think that’s gonna be a super big pay-per-view if they do that.

“And then the smart move for him would also be, of course, Manny Pacquiao. I think that’s great. It depends at what weight. Not 145. I think he’s way too skinny at 145. He shouldn’t fight like that anymore. Everybody’s seen him at the weigh-in. That simply looks unhealthy.”

There has been talk of a McGregor vs. Masvidal fight for months. However, the former two-weight champion opted not to call out “Gamebred” — who was in attendance — following his win over Cerrone.

Masvidal took that as McGregor not wanting to fight him and believes it’s a wise choice as he feels he is the superior fighter. Given his recent wins, many also feel Masvidal would be too much for McGregor.

But while their striking ability is very close, Rutten still feels McGregor is the superior striker.

“That’s a hard one, because Masvidal grew so much in the last years in his striking, and he became so powerful with that crazy flying knee with Ben Askren,” Rutten added. “And when he works on something, which we saw, and then he actually pulls it off. That’s the same as what McGregor did with the shoulder punches – worked on something, and then he pulled it off.

“So, I’m just… I love Masvidal as well. And I love McGregor. Both of them. I think striking-wise, technically-wise, I think McGregor is the better striker with his hands for sure. His kicks are great. We saw him land the left high kick. But I think Masvidal probably has more power on it, because he will drive that kick through. But then again, Conor doesn’t need that power because he knows exactly where he is at any moment. But, his accuracy. That’s McGregor’s bread and butter, man. He’s so accurate, and he’s so good at reading his opponent and moving out of the way and then coming in.

“Like, I mean, against [Jose] Aldo. He was talking about it in the dressing room. There’s a video that he says it, ‘oh, don’t worry, it won’t even cross a minute, I’m gonna knock him out fast’. And then he actually did it.”

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