Conor McGregor has designs on becoming the first three-division champion in UFC history.
On The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, McGregor intimated that he would like to try his luck against the winner of Kamaru Usman vs. Leon Edwards. McGregor also said he’s hoping to be ringside for the London event.
The Irishman will face Michael Chandler at 170 pounds, and by the looks of his recent weight gain, it’s likely McGregor will continue what’s left of his UFC career at welterweight. Both McGregor and Chandler have been named as coaches for the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter, which will culminate in a huge fight between them.
Despite that, he’s only fought three times at welterweight, and all to fighters roughly the same size as him, McGregor hasn’t been shy about challenging for a title. Even prior to Usman’s shock loss to Edwards at UFC 278, McGregor attempted to stir the pot with the ex-champ on multiple occasions.
Of course, McGregor has to get past Chandler, and that’s not a lock. For the moment, McGregor is trying to bypass re-entering the USADA testing pool to fast-track his return and is not having much luck.
Conor McGregor will be overmatched at welterweight
Whether it’s Usman, Edwards, or anyone else who may succeed them by the time McGregor is ready, they’re in for an easy night. There is not a lot McGregor has left actively competing past his prime in a weight class he doesn’t belong to.
Unless McGregor is planning on embarking on a carefully planned tour of blown-up lightweights and faded veterans, he’ll get cut down by the bulk of the top-15. There might be some winnable fights further down the ranking, but anything else is a huge risk.
In order to maximize McGregor’s marketability, the UFC needs to put him in right away should he defeat Chandler. Even that fight is not a given, as McGregor is coming back from a horrible leg injury and will have two years’ worth of rust to shake off against the volatile Chandler.
If McGregor had to root for a winner this weekend, it would have to be Edwards. The current champion matches better with him than Usman, though McGregor would be a huge underdog to either fighter.
Credit to McGregor for pushing towards a huge goal at a point in his career where he doesn’t have to chase anything. It is unfortunate that the eventual challenge will be for naught when it happens.