Conor McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh has named Tony Ferguson as one of his preferred opponents for his fighter’s comeback bout in 2022.

McGregor last fought in July, breaking his leg at the end of the first round of his trilogy bout with Dustin Poirier.

The Irishman is still recovering from that injury and is not expected back in the Octagon until summer 2022 at the earliest. The former dual-weight champion recently said he is due to be healthy to return to sparring in April, and he shared images on social media this week of his current 190lbs physique – well over the 156lbs lightweight limit.

Nevertheless, McGregor is expected to return at lightweight, with former interim champion Ferguson an ideal opponent – according to Kavanagh.

“The Tony Ferguson one,” Kavanagh said on The MMA Hour. “It never happened, it was talked about a lot.

“Tony still has – I believe – a lot to offer the game.

“He’s a very unorthodox striker, grappler. I think the build-up would be fun for the fans.”

Ferguson was previously signed to Paradigm Sports, the agency to which McGregor belongs and in which the Irishman owns shares.

The 37-year-old put together a 12-fight win streak between 2013 and 2019 but has lost his last three fights.

Ferguson’s last outing came in May, when the American was outpointed by Beneil Dariush.

Kavanagh also reiterated his desire to see McGregor fight Nate Diaz for a third time, despite admitting that the potential bout “gives me nightmares”.

McGregor went 7-0 at the start of his UFC career as he stormed through the featherweight division to become champion, but the Irishman suffered the first defeat of his spell with the promotion when he encountered Diaz in March 2016.

Having knocked out Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds in December 2015, McGregor was scheduled to take on Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight belt at UFC 196, but the Brazilian was unable to compete due to injury.

Diaz stepped in and fought McGregor at welterweight, submitting ‘Notorious’ in the second round to the shock of many MMA fans. McGregor outpointed the Californian at the same weight five months later, before going on to beat then-lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez for the gold at 155lbs.

“I’ll be honest, the Nate Diaz trilogy is very, very tempting,” Kavanagh said.

“It’s a fight that gives me nightmares. The man doesn’t stop coming forward, whether it’s three rounds or five rounds, but it’s an intriguing fight.

“So, that one is definitely very interesting.”

Further discussing a potential lightweight return for McGregor, Kavanagh said: “Look, that division is killer.

“Your Dan Hooker’s in there, the Islam [Makhachev] fight would be amazing as well, for obvious reasons.

“And we have whoever is going to win this belt coming up this Saturday [when Charles Oliveira defends against Dustin Poirier]. So look, any of those names. I’m just excited to see Conor back healthy, training.

“I wondered what would happen after this injury. It’s a long road back to recovery. The boy, it’s not a secret, he’s got a couple of quid in the bank. He could obviously go off and live on an island and play on his yacht for the rest of his life.

Conor McGregor after breaking his leg against Dustin Poirier in July

(Getty Images)

“But I have not seen one per cent drop in his incredible drive and desire and passion and interest in the sport. I’ve said it to you many times, I’ve said it to everybody: If you can get rid of money problems, you really find out what it is you’re passionate about, because you’ll only do something you really enjoy. He’s still in the gym, all day, every day.

“He’s still talking about getting that belt again – all day, every day. What can you conclude from this? He loves fighting. He loves mixed martial arts. He loves competition. So, let’s get back healthy, let’s get back training, and let’s go on a run in ‘22.

“I’m sure there’s some people there with steam coming out of their ears that he’s coming back for that belt, but I’m sorry to upset you: He’s coming back there for that belt, so give me your best shot on Twitter.”

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