Conor McGregor will fight for the UFC gold in Ireland if he beats Dennis Siver at UFC Fight Night 59, but a fellow featherweight doesn’t think we’ll see "The Notorious" fighting for the 145-pound championship any time soon.
With an 11-6 (and one no-contest) record under the UFC banner, Siver meets the Irish sensation in a five-round main event in Boston, and Brazilian veteran Thiago Tavares picks the underdog to win on Jan. 18.
"First of all, I don’t think Conor deserves to fight for the title," Tavares told MMAFighting.com. "There are other fighters ahead of him."
McGregor is unbeaten in the Octagon with four wins and three finishes, but Tavares says his perfect UFC record would derail if the promotion matches him against a wrestler.
"He’s a good striker, but hasn’t shown anything else," Tavares said. "They never put him in there against a wrestler. Nik Lentz, for an example, would beat Conor. I would bet my money on that. In fact, I think Denis Siver will defeat him."
Tavares made a successful featherweight debut in August, tapping Robbie Peralta with a first-round rear-naked choke, and is set to meet Lentz at UFC Fight Night 60 on Feb. 14. With UFC champion Jose Aldo basically cleaning up the featherweight division, Tavares’ run to the title could be shorter, but he’s not thinking about it yet.
"I don’t think I’m in this title race yet," he said. "Everything is possible, but my next challenge is Nik Lentz and that’s all I think about right now. I believe Frankie Edgar deserves another shot at the belt. He would do a great fight, and he has a chance at winning. But all I think about right now is Nik Lentz. Aldo is not my problem, at least for now."