If Conor McGregor is seriously considering a run at welterweight in the UFC, it appears the two top fighters in the division are ready to welcome him.
After wrapping up filming on the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter, McGregor announced plans to face Michael Chandler at 170 pounds with hopes that a win could potentially propel him into title contention. Despite the fact that Chandler is ranked at 155 pounds and has never competed at welterweight in the UFC, McGregor believes a win could put him right in the mix for a championship after he previously claimed gold at featherweight and lightweight.
“Yeah, I’d like [a welterweight title shot],” McGregor said on The MMA Hour. “So I would like that.”
While McGregor’s desire may not match with the UFC’s plans, reigning welterweight champion Leon Edwards didn’t blink when he was asked about possibly facing the Irish superstar in a future title defense.
Edwards is currently preparing to defend his belt for the first time in a rematch against ex-champion Kamaru Usman in the UFC 286 main event.
“As the king, I welcome all challengers,” Edwards said when asked about McGregor. “So whoever comes can get it.”
Usman has actually addressed McGregor in the past when he was champion, and that’s always been a matchup he’s entertained as a possibility.
As it stands, McGregor only has two wins at welterweight on his record — both coming against veteran lightweights in Nate Diaz and Cowboy Cerrone. McGregor holds no wins over any welterweights or lightweights ranked by the UFC outside of a victory against Dustin Poirier, which took place at featherweight back in 2014.
McGregor then dropped back-to-back fights against Poirier at lightweight in 2021.
“I’ve always said I welcome it,” Usman said about McGregor. “If it happens, it happens.”
McGregor always commands attention whenever he lets his intentions be known, so it’s understandable that his interest in fighting for welterweight gold would raise Edwards and Usman’s eyebrows even as they prepare to battle each other for the third time.
Taking on the biggest draw in the history of the UFC will always be attractive, but for his part, Edwards said he’s not losing sight of what’s directly in front of him.
“Like I said, I welcome all comers,” Edwards said. “[Conor McGregor], whoever comes next.
“But now I’m focused on Kamaru Usman. I believe he’s the toughest challenge in the division, so I am focused on that. Whoever comes next then that’s what it is.”