Featherweight champion Conor McGregor will undertake his first ever fight at welterweight on Saturday night when he faces short notice opponent Nate Diaz, but he’s already aiming his sights at the 170lb champion, Robbie Lawler.
“That’s probably the leading option,” McGregor said of fighting Robbie Lawler for the welterweight title next – presumably at UFC 200 in July.
“I like Robbie,” McGregor said. “I won’t say a bad word about Robbie. He fights with his heart. He’s been around the game so, so long. But if we fought, I would beat Robbie. I’m too fast for him. The size difference is not anything. I’ve stood beside him. I’ve seen him.”
It would be a remarkable and unparalleled achievement if McGregor was able to not only hold two belts simultaneously, but also do so in two completely separate weight classes that are 25lbs apart.
If he does go ahead with it though it does leave a real question mark over whether he’d ever be able to make it back down to featherweight to defend his belt, and also what it would mean for his ambitions of also holding the lightweight title.
For now though McGregor appears to be doing whatever he pleases, and the thought of competing for the 170lb strap seems to be what motivates him the most, even if he has to go through a fighter he clearly has respect for in order to achieve it.
“I respect [Lawler] as a champion, as a man who drifted off, came back, stayed on it and rose up and became the welterweight champion. We’ll see how that goes. That is an appealing one for me, the welterweight [title]. All the belts. We’ll see.”
Of course before any of that can even be seriously considered he’ll first have to prove himself at welterweight by getting past Nate Diaz at UFC 196 on Saturday night.