In a new interview Conor McGregor appears to rule out competing at lightweight when he returns to fighting later this year and now sees his future at welterweight instead.
“I just don’t really see myself coming back to 155 again,” McGregor said on his own ‘The Mac Life’ youtube channel. “I’m eating, I’m lifting, I’m training, and I’m not cutting calories. So this is my natural state. I can go even bigger.
“I like myself at 170. I’ve always had a great time when I’ve had a full camp at 170—with correct preparation: the Diaz 2 rematch and the [Donald Cerrone] fight in particular…They were probably some of my best performances inside the UFC Octagon and without any calorie deficiency whatsoever.”
And it seems that McGregor isn’t intending to gradually work his way up the 170lb ranks, instead stating that he wants to head straight into a fight against the current champion Kamaru Usman for his first fight back after the broken leg he suffered last year in the Octagon.
“I believe myself vs. Usman for the 170-pound title for my comeback fight is the one I’m eyeballing at the minute.
“I’ve gotten myself down to a lightweight frame, but I’m big now. I feel big, I feel strong, I feel healthy, I’ve got good energy. Coming back after a gruesome injury, I do not want to deplete myself. There’s no need to deplete myself. And I feel confident against Usman – a jab-happy, sloppy orthodox wrestler with no submissions whatsoever. What’s he gonna do? Where’s the danger here? I don’t see a danger with him.”
Eyebrows will surely be raised at McGregor’s statements here for a number of reasons.
Of course, the most obvious is that McGregor doesn’t have the recent record to be calling for a title shot in any division, having now last three of his last four fights in the octagon, including back-to-back losses against Dustin Poirier at lightweight in his last two outings.
Or to put it another way, he has only won once in the past five years.
McGregor’s statement that some of his his best performances have come at 170lbs is also highly debatable.
In fact, his first fight with Nate Diaz at 170lbs, which he lost by submission after gassing out by the second round, was easily one of his worst performances, while he only edged out the rematch by a majority decision verdict.
To be fair to McGregor, the first round TKO win over Donald Cerrone at welterweight was certainly a good one. However, at that stage it was becoming apparent that Cerrone was already in decline, having also been TKO’d in his previous two bouts.
On top of that it has to be noted that both Diaz and Cerrone are like McGregor in that they have spent much of their career’s competing at lightweight and produced mediocre results at 170lbs.
So, a natural welterweight like Usman who has been dominating the field for years and has a massive wrestling advantage would be a whole different ball game for McGregor.
It’s also worth noting that as recently as this week even Dana White suggested that welterweight isn’t a good fit for McGregor.
“It’s a stretch for Conor to fight at 170,” White said on Logan Paul’s podcast after baulking at the idea of the star fighting Jake Paul at 175lbs. “He fought Nate (Diaz) at 170. That isn’t his f*cking weight class, not even close.”
However, White gave a more diplomatic response when reporters at UFC: London late this week delivered him the news that McGregor now wants to fight Usman.
“Yeah, it’s interesting, I hadn’t heard that. He’s coming into Vegas, we’re getting together and we’re gonna talk,” Dana White told media at UFC: London. “We’ll see what’s next… Any Conor fight is good money-wise.”