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Retired MMA fighter and Sirius XM host R.J. Clifford is looking at Conor McGregor’s next move to judge whether his MMA return is short-lived, or a new lease.

“If he chooses to face Nate Diaz next, that signals to me that he’s just about done,” Clifford told MMAjunkie Radio. “Maybe a Nate Diaz trilogy and maybe a Georges St-Pierre fight, and then he’s walking away a bajillionaire and doing whatever he’s going to do.

“If he does take a Tony Ferguson fight next, that’s signaling to me he has a couple more years in him and wants to keep fighting.”

If recent events are any indication, McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) is thinking long term. UFC President Dana White said McGregor will next defend his belt against newly minted interim champ Tony Ferguson (24-3 MMA, 14-1 UFC), who got a special tweet-out from the undisputed lightweight champ. There’s even been speculation as to a meeting at UFC 219, which takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Then again, McGregor has said he’d open to a lot of different options, including a trilogy with Diaz. The good news, according to Clifford, is that he can still make that fight happen even if he faces Ferguson next.

“(McGregor) can afford to lose and not take any shine off the Nate Diaz trilogy,” Clifford said. “They could both lose three fights in a row, and that trilogy of theirs still sells two million PPVs.”

Whatever happens next, the sure bet is that it will be entertaining.

Check out the video above for more from Clifford.

And for more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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