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Sonnen warming up to the idea of Conor McGregor fighting Oliveira vs. Gaethje winner next

Chael Sonnen thinks there’s a possibility Conor McGregor could fight for the UFC lightweight when he returns to the Octagon later this year.

UFC 175 & The Ultimate Fighter Finale - On-Sale Press Conference
Chael Sonnen speaks to reporters at a UFC press conference on May 23, 2014 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Conor McGregor fighting for a world championship after losing back-to-back fights to Dustin Poirier might seem like a far-fetched idea to some — but not Chael Sonnen.

‘The Notorious’ fighting the winner of Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje for the UFC lightweight title could end up being a real possibility for a number of reasons but most notably the absence of Dustin Poirier and Nate Diaz from the title picture, says Sonnen.

“If we have Poirier/Diaz to look forward to, and I’m leaning in the direction that we do, you’ve just removed two meaningful players from the board,” Sonnen, a former three-time UFC title challenger, said on his YouTube channel (h/t BJPenn.com).

“Then you do start to get a good look at who’s left and who makes the most sense. All of a sudden, Conor McGregor coming right into a world title fight against either Gaethje or Oliveira, it’s not as far out of an idea as perhaps it appeared the first time we heard it three months ago.”

There is, of course, top-five lightweight Islam Makhachev waiting in the wings should he dispose of Bobby Green at UFC Fight Night 202 but Oliveira would much prefer to take on McGregor.

“Not only him, but also myself and all the world wants to see that fight,” Oliveira said. “So let’s make it happen. I´m waiting for him in May. It may be in welterweight, lightweight or middleweight, with my title on the line or not. Just choose and I´ll be ready.”

McGregor suffered a broken leg in his trilogy fight against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 and won’t be back in action until mid-2022 at the earliest.

Oliveira, meanwhile, is expected to defend his lightweight title against Gaethje at UFC 274 on May 7 at a TBD location.