Last week, Conor McGregor’s return was announced when a fight with Donald Cerrone was made official for the main event of UFC 246. Since then, there has been a lot of talk about the fight, what it means for both fighters, and where both men go from here, but there’s been even more speculation about the weight the fight is being contested at.
Though McGregor and Cerrone have most recently competed at the lightweight limit of 155 pounds, and both men seem to be best suited for the lightweight division, their fight at UFC 246 will be contested as a welterweight bout. Both men do have some experience in the 170-pound division but it would seemingly make more sense to fight at 155 pounds, especially as McGregor has made it clear he’s gunning for a rematch with lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Nonetheless, the fight will be held at welterweight and speculation has run rampant over why. Well, Joe Rogan believes he knows.
Speaking recently on his Joe Rogan Experience MMA Show podcast, Rogan suggested that the reason this fight is at 170 is because all the years Conor spent cutting to 145 have made him not want to cut weight anymore if possible.
“Because Conor doesn’t want to lose any weight,” Rogan said. “I think that guy tortured himself to get down to 145 so hard - and when you look at what he looked like when he was on the scale, when he was flexing, he looked like a god damn zombie. It was horrible. So I think, whether he complains or not about that, nobody rides for free. You do that to your body for a couple of years, you do some damage and it makes it harder to lose the weight afterwards.
“So then he’s going up to 155. He’s obviously elite at 155, wins the title at 155, has the great rematch with Diaz at 170 and then comes back and fights Khabib at 155 and gets mauled. He has a fight with Cowboy, he’s really a 55er that can fight welterweight. That’s the right size for him versus, I don’t think Nate is fighting 155 any time in the future anymore.”
McGregor has certainly bounced around weight divisions his fair share. He rose to prominence as a featherweight, claiming the UFC title only to immediately abandon it in favor of a move to challenge Raphael dos Anjos for the lightweight title. An injury to RDA sidelined that plan and instead McGregor fought Nate Diaz at a 170 pound catchweight on short notice. What happened next is history as Diaz submitted McGregor and the two rematched later that year with McGregor taking a narrow decision win. Then “Notorious” went on to beat Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title before jumping to boxing for a one-off fight. By the time he came back, Khabib Nurmagomedov was the new lightweight king and he throttled McGregor in short order.
Now, Conor’s UFC career - and arguably his legacy - hang in the balance. Another loss and McGregor will still be a star - star power doesn’t ever really leave you - but his claims to being the best fighter will start to lose credibility and he’ll likely kiss any chance at rematching Khabib goodbye. So McGregor’s comeback fight is important to reestablish what made him a superstar in the first place and Rogan believes this fight with Cowboy is perfect for just that.
“He’s fighting a guy who, I think in his eyes is not really a welterweight,” Rogan said. “I think he thinks of Cowboy as a guy who will fight at 170 but he’s really a 55er... I think Conor’s calculated in his comeback. I think this is a smart fight for him because he’s not fighting someone who is too big, where I feel like that was the argument about Nate even though Nate did fight at 155 for a long time. He’s a big dude. And then there’s some other guys that want to fight him at 170 that are real 170s. [Jorge] Masvidal is a perfect example of that. Masvidal was a 155er for a long time but he’s not anymore.”
Jorge Masvidal rose to stardom this year with a string of incredible performances capped off by claiming the inaugural BMF belt last month, with a win over McGregor’s old nemesis, Nate Diaz. Since then, Masvidal has called for a fight with McGregor and many have suggested that Conor facing Cowboy at 170 pounds is in part because it opens up the option to fight Masvidal for the BMF belt if he so chooses. But first things first, McGregor has to get through Cowboy, and though Conor is a hefty favorite in the bout, Rogan still thinks Cerrone has a chance to upset the apple cart.
“Look, it’s gonna be f*cking great,” Rogan said. “Whether you watch it on TV or you watch it live, it’s gonna be f*cking great. And if Conor can catch him early, it could be very interesting... [But] if Cowboy can use his distance - and he’s very good at doing it - and he can avoid that straight left because Conor’s got a piston of a left hand.”
McGregor and Cerrone will finally fight at UFC 246 on Jan. 18 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
The A-Side Live Chat.
Max Holloway’s best lines.
A look at the Performance Institute in Shanghai.
Most overshadowed fighters in MMA history.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Gilbert Burns will fight anyone.
Aldo looks horrible and he it’s still not even fight week. This was a bad idea.
Anyone have any idea what this one is about?
Blue lips.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) December 4, 2019
Everybody always chasing two belts these days.
Middleweight title next! What do you guys think? @BellatorMMA— Douglas Lima (@PhenomLima) December 4, 2019
This is neat.
It’s important to have goals.
Dustin on Khabib.
Just showed me there's still lots of work to do on my end. https://t.co/9Zx8x5UxHS— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) December 5, 2019
Couldn't find him again after i landed that shot though https://t.co/Vr7MFaRqHz— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) December 5, 2019
One day Ryan Bader is going to get hurt by pranking someone.
ohhhh yes! Gave The wife a nice surprise when she went to put stuff away in the RV. Had to cut the vid as some not so nice words were coming out. pic.twitter.com/jUeRLKbJTE— Ryan Bader (@ryanbader) December 5, 2019
Benson Henderson (28-8) vs, Sydney Outlaw (14-3); Bellator Japan, Dec. 29.
Kanna Asakura (15-1) vs. Jayme Hinshaw (4-3); Bellator Japan, Dec. 29.
Shoma Shibisai (5-2) vs. Sergei Shemetov (9-6); Bellator Japan, Dec. 29.
Kai Asakura (14-1) vs. Manel Kape (14-4); Rizin 20, Dec. 31.
Shintaro Ishiwatari (26-7-4) vs. Hiromasa Ogikubo (19-4-2); Rizin 20, Dec. 31.
Rena Kubota (9-3) vs. Lindsey Vanzandt (7-2); Rizin 20, Dec. 31.
Vitaly Shemetov (23-10) vs. Simon Biyong (6-1); Rizin 20, Dec. 31.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
Why do you think Conor-Cowboy is at 170?
This poll is closed
Conor wants to fight for the BMF belt
Conor doesn’t want to cut weight
Conor is trying to angle for the welterweight title
All of the above
If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.