Why is Conor McGregor fighting at welterweight? That’s one of the biggest mysteries of 2020 so far. Does he really want to have an easy weight cut for his fight against fellow ranked lightweight Donald Cerrone? Or does his ambitions lie deeper in the 170lb division?
There is talk of him wanting a big money fight with Jorge Masvidal. ‘Gamebred’s’ profile has never been bigger, but he has a size and power advantage over the Irishman. However, a run at the actual welterweight title has also been mentioned. Could that really happen?
Kamaru Usman is dismissive. The welterweight champion just came through a bruising war with Colby Covington. He believes that McGregor has no chance against the top end of the division.
If Khabib Nurmagamedov can bully McGregor into submission, then imagine what the bigger, more powerful Usman would be capable. On paper, it’s the worst possible match-up for the Irishman. At least in a striking battle with Jorge Masvidal, he might have some chance. But you can’t imagine him out-wrestling ‘The Nigerian Nightmare.’
“It is a mismatch,” Usman told MMA Fighting. “More power to him, anything is possible. A fight is a fight, anything can happen. But just being real, that’s a tremendous mismatch. I think I would hurt him really, really bad.”
“I mean we saw what Khabib did to him,” Usman said of McGregor’s submission loss to Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. “He had to take some time off after the Khabib fight,” Usman said. “Now imagine him fighting me. I don’t think we ever see him back in the sport.”
Furthermore, Usman doesn’t think McGregor deserves a shot at the welterweight title. There are too many killers in the division for him to get past. Do you see McGregor beating a bonafide top-five 170lber like Tyron Woodley, Colby Covington or even Leon Edwards? They’re very big, powerful guys.
“Conor doesn’t even really make sense,” Usman said. “Sure, if he comes in the division and beats someone pretty high up there and really makes the case for himself that he can really handle himself in the division, then absolutely I would entertain that fight.”
Of course, Usman is interested because money talks. But realistically this is not a good move for McGregor. Gegard Mousasi smashing Rory MacDonald showed that weight classes exist for a reason. When you have two equally talented fighters the bigger man will usually win.
Meanwhile, Ali Abdelaziz thinks that McGregor does not want to fight Justin Gaethje. ‘The Highlight’ is another potential opponent for the Irishman if he beats Cerrone. Unfortunately for Gaethje nobody useful wants to fight him right now. But to be fair, taking him on would be like going toe-to-toe with an angle grinder.
“Conor does not want to have anything to do with Gaethje,” Abdelaziz told TMZ Sports. “Gaethje takes a lot of people into deep water. We understand Conor is a quitter. He quits when he’s in deep water. Why the hell does he need this fight?
“The UFC made the right choice, his team made the right choice not to fight Gaethje because he would’ve beat his ass. Simple.”