RIO DE JANEIRO - Conor McGregor hasn’t won a fight in more than three years, but he’s still seen by Brazilian UFC stars as a very profitable and winnable foe inside the octagon.
UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira was one of the UFC 283 guest fighters part a Q&A session in Rio de Janeiro earlier this year and was asked by a fan which fighter on that stage — Jose Aldo, Charles Oliveira or Rafael dos Anjos — would have a better shot at beating “The Notorious” in MMA. “Poatan” said all three of them had what it takes to beat the Irish star, and Aldo included the 185-pound kingpin.
“I pick ‘Poatan’,” Aldo said with a laugh. “‘Poatan’ can knock him out. Isn’t [McGregor] a heavyweight now, going to 185 pounds? We have Rafael at 170, we have Charles at 155. Our team is ready. Everybody wants this opportunity [laughs].”
Aldo joked that McGregor is getting “huge now that USADA isn’t knocking on his door.” McGregor is not on the drug testing pool and will need six months of training before he’s eligible to re-enter the cage. And when that finally happens, Oliveira and dos Anjos would gladly agree to welcome him back.
“There are no fools here, everybody knows we want this fight because he’ll give us a lot of money, but I do think he’s a guy that needs to be hyped,” said Oliveira, who has yet to book a fight since coming up short against Islam Makhachev for the UFC belt. “I’ve asked for this fight plenty of times and he never says anything. I’ll be ready to fight him the day he wants, but I won’t call him out anymore.”
Dos Anjos, who also held the UFC lightweight belt in the past and at one point of his career was scheduled to defend it against McGregor, revealed during the Q&A he has just signed a “long” contract with the UFC, but “I don’t see myself fighting at 155 again.”
“Conor picks his fights,” dos Anjos said of the former two-division champion. “Like Charles said, everybody wants this fight because it will be lucrative. He picks his fights. When he feels that’s the fight for him, he’ll choose it. We’ll be waiting but we’ll continue fighting in the meantime.”
“McGregor chickened out a long time ago,” Oliveira added. “Like Rafael said, he handpicks his fights. I think he looks at the guy and thinks ‘I can beat this one,’ and then he signs the contract. He’s right not to fight me because he knows what will happen.”