I think you're selling Mac a bit short there. He was spot on with his assessment post fight, you can't be inactive and hang with high level guys. He missed with lefts that I've never seen him miss before and even the few times he caught Dustin, they were off the mark. Dustin was cognizant of Mcgregor's "pull" and still fell into it 5-6 times. A sharp McGregor doesn't miss those opportunities.
I think the mistake was in fighting a can like Cowboy and then taking a year off. If you're going to fight a can, fight a few until you're sharp. There were a few guys at lightweight that were big enough names but not very threatening for him to build off of. Felder, RDA, Barboza. Guys past their best before date, but with enough name value (and still high enough in the rankings) for the fight to look like it means something. Conor was clearly not ready for an elite fighter in there tonight.
Funny enough, hooker could be a guy for Connor after what I said before. Name value + likes to brawl. He needs a couple of gatekeepers to the top 5 that are still considered real fights to fans. Diaz would be a step in the wrong direction if he’s looking for a title shot
Fight that makes the most sense for him is Nate at 155 I think.
Huge drawing power against a good, legit, but not elite fighter. Both guys coming off of losses against legit top of the division fighters. If Conor cant beat Nate, it's probably time to pack it in and sell booze for a living. If he does target another name at 155 like RDA. If 2 fights cant bring him back to the level of elite at 155, then it's over. Lose either and retire. Win both and then uncle Dana gives you a title shot for reasons
I don't think there's a single fighter in the 155lbs top-5 that I'd favor McGregor. Khabib (theoretically), Poirier, Oliveira, Gaethje, Chandler, Ferguson. I think they'd all be the favorites to beat him.
I think RDA would make McGregor look like an abject fool if they ever fought.