Conor McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh would "absolute support" the idea of putting "The Notorious" in the Octagon against welterweight champion Robbie Lawler after UFC 196, but welterweight contender Demian Maia is against the idea.
Maia, 7-2 as a welterweight in the UFC, told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that he hopes to be the next in line if he's victorious against Matt Brown on May 14 in Brazil. He knows how he would react with the news if McGregor jumped the line to face "Ruthless" if he beats Rafael dos Anjos next.
"Sad, you know, because that’s crazy," Maia said. "We are athletes, and we work very hard in our way to the title. I understand that this fight would make a lot of money, but as an athlete, I don’t agree with that. I can’t disagree more.
"If you think okay, you gotta work, do a couple fights at least to prove that you can fight because it’s a different division. But, at the end of the day, I don’t think he will win against Rafael."
Maia recognizes the featherweight champion’s talent, especially after his 13-second knockout win over Jose Aldo in December, but expects dos Anjos to be too much for him on March 5.
"It’s too much weight difference," he said. "I think it’s a different body type. Rafael is very tough, he proved that in his last fights. I’m sure (Conor) has his chance, of course. He proved that against Aldo.
"Most people that understand the sport didn’t think he was going to win, and he did in a fashion way. It was crazy. I was shocked. I went to the corridor to watch the fight, just relax, and when the things happened I was shocked. I was really, ‘what the f---’."
At the end of the day, Maia hopes McGregor stays at 155 or 145 pounds for his next fight.
"Yeah, I will," said Maia when asked if he would be pissed if McGregor gets a shot at the welterweight title.
"I hope he doesn’t win (against dos Anjos)," he laughed.
"Give me that title shot if I win," said the Brazilian. "If I win that fight I wanna fight for the title. Forget about McGregor."