The roller-coaster career of MMA legend Conor McGregor appears to have taken another dip, and this time there may not be an upside for the former two-division champion, who faces legal jeopardy and a deteriorating relationship with the UFC.

The appalling incident at UFC 223, in which a bus was attacked and two MMA fighters were taken to hospital, led to McGregor being charged with three counts of assault, criminal mischief, menacing and reckless endangerment and released on bail until June.

This outrageous episode in McGregor’s life could bring about the end of a UFC career that had been in stasis since November 2016. That was the month when he last stepped into the Octagon, beating Eddie Alvarez to become the first two-division champion in UFC history. Since then, a hiatus around the time of the birth of his first child was followed by the huge distraction of the Floyd Mayweather fight, and then a prolonged bout of wrangling with the UFC over money.

Having been stripped of his featherweight title at the end of 2016, McGregor also lost his lightweight crown following UFC 223 due to inactivity. Back in March, McGregor was insisting that he would be stepping into the Octagon again, with fights against Nate Diaz, Tony Ferguson, or Khabib Nurmagomedov all possibilities. A statement released by his manager following the violence at UFC 223 also insisted that McGregor would fight again.

That may still be possible. Though UFC boss Dana White responded angrily to the incident initially, indicating that he would not be working with McGregor again, he subsequently softened his stance. However, even if the UFC would be prepared to put on a McGregor fight, there remains the possibility of a lengthy trial and a guilty verdict that could carry an 11-year prison sentence and effectively end the Irish star’s fighting career.

If McGregor doesn’t ever fight again, there are plenty of other stars who are able to take his spot in the MMA limelight – most notably Nurmagomedov, who currently holds the lightweight title. The Russian holds one of the longest winning streaks in MMA history and is going to be tough to dislodge from his spot at the top of the division. His proposed fight with Ferguson was one of the most eagerly anticipated by UFC fans and those who enjoy live betting with Stakers, and if it does happen at some point in the next few months, it could be a classic.

Among the up-and-coming MMA stars, Francis Ngannou has already established a big reputation in the heavyweight division, winning 11 of his 13 fights. Ngannou holds the UFC record for punching power, and though he was beaten by Stipe Miocic for the UFC heavyweight title in January, he will surely be back soon. Middleweight Paulo Costa, who has made a good start to his UFC career, and rising welterweight star Darren Till are also fighters to watch and could be in line for starring roles in the post-McGregor era.

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