The welterweight champ never discounts the chaotic nature of a sport where upsets happen all the time. But “The Nigerian Nightmare” can’t see how putting him into the cage with the Irish star would be a fair fight.
“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.”
McGregor recently elbowed his way into the conversation of Usman’s potential opponents, telling “The Mac Life” he’d like to collect a title in a third division after capturing belts at featherweight and lightweight.
“I liked that welterweight title fight that was on the weekend; I liked the look of that,” McGregor said. “I liked the look of Kamaru Usman. I liked the look of Colby [Covington]. I’m open to it all at 170.”
Opponents like Jorge Masvidal or Leon Edwards are at the top of the list for Usman, who in 2019 took the welterweight title from Tyron Woodley and then defended in a “Fight of the Night” opposite Colby Covington at UFC 245.
There is one good incentive for Usman to fight McGregor: a windfall of cash. But Usman doesn’t see it as a legitimate challenge.
The 170-pound champ cites McGregor’s most recent octagon outing, an October 2018 grudge match with lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, as the most obvious evidence. Although McGregor was the first fighter in the UFC to win one round against the undefeated Russian, he ultimately was thwarted in dominant fashion when Nurmagomedov submitted him in the fourth round with a rear-naked choke.
If that’s how McGregor fared against a natural lightweight, Usman said, you only imagine how badly things would go against the best welterweight in the sport.
“I mean we saw what Khabib [Nurmagomedov] did to him,” he said. “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.”
To be clear, Usman wouldn’t down any fight, no matter his opinion of the matchup. He believes his job as champion is to face whoever the UFC puts in front of him, and if McGregor can prove he’s ready, he’ll be more than happy to sign the contract.
But if fighting is about more than marquee names, it’s not the greatest idea. And there are some hurdles ahead for “Notorious.”
“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.”