UFC superstar Conor “Notorious” McGregor will be stepping into the Octagon for the first time in over a year to fight Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246 on Jan. 18, but he’s already looking at his options after the bout.
In a recent TheMacLife interview, McGregor spoke to Oscar Willis about all things fighting, including his match with Cowboy, and the future fights he’s interested in.
Here’s a video of the interview:
During the interview, the conversation progressed to discussing potential welterweight matchups for McGregor should he get past Cowboy. They briefly talked about Jorge Masvidal and McGregor’s potential fight — McGregor is interested in that bout, but he’s not “going to 170 just for Jorge.” He is exploring all options at welterweight.
Notorious is “open to it all at 170,” but what really sparks his interest is the welterweight belt.
“I like that welterweight belt,” McGregor says. “I like the look of Kamaru Usman; I like the look of Colby [Covington].”
Usman and Covington fought last month at UFC 245 in a fight of the year candidate in which Usman reigned supreme via TKO. Usman, the welterweight champion, retained his title and now awaits his next opponent.
Objectively, there are higher ranked opponents for Usman to fight next, but with the amount of business Notorious brings in for the promotion, anything is possible. McGregor also believes that he can beat any lightweight or welterweight in the world.
In the interview, Notorious says that he does not believe that “these people” are on his level when he has committed himself to a full training camp and to the vigorous lifestyle of being a winning, professional fighter. And for his UFC 246 fight camp, he has done just that.
If McGregor gets past Cowboy on Jan. 18 and the promotion’s brass gives him a title shot at welterweight, he would be fighting to become the first UFC three-division champion.
In December 2015, McGregor won his first UFC title when he knocked out the unstoppable featherweight force that was Jose Aldo. And then in November 2016, less than a year later, McGregor finished then-lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez to earn his second belt.
Because McGregor was the featherweight champion at the time he won his lightweight championship, he became UFC’s first-ever fighter to hold two belts at the same time. McGregor was ultimately stripped of both the featherweight and lightweight titles, however, due to inactivity.
So, if he fights Usman and wins, he will become the very first fighter in UFC history to win a championship in three different divisions.
Well, Usman feels a certain way about the whole situation:
“My man [Conor McGregor,] please just go in there and take your L from cowboy. Don’t even dream of this WW strap because that dream can turn into an Nightmare fast.”
Usman is having none of what McGregor is saying about challenging him or Covington, two of the very best welterweights in the world. One thing is for sure, McGregor needs to get past Cowboy at UFC 246 before this conversation can go any further.
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Notorious Doesn’t Have Much Experience at Welterweight
One of the most interesting parts of the interview was the discussion about his future at welterweight. As fight fans will recall, Notorious has done virtually all his MMA work at lightweight or featherweight. He has only fought one man at welterweight, and that’s Nate Diaz. Cowboy will be his second opponent.
In the video, Notorious was asked by Willis about the Cowboy fight: “Why exactly is this fight at 170 pounds? I mean, there’s a lot [that’s] been said about it, [and it] raised a few eyebrows when it was announced.”
McGregor simply replied that it’s what he weighs right now. By fighting at welterweight, McGregor has to cut very little weight to compete in the 170-pound division. He doesn’t want to cut the weight if it’s unnecessary, especially if he’s granted the chance to step in to fight either Khabib Nurmagomedov or Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 if one of them gets injured before their fight.
One thing McGregor made clear in the video is that he is ready to compete multiple times this year:
“I’m looking at this as a season, so this is the beginning of the season. Donald was the first one I agreed to have a bout with, and here we are.”
It’s always fun for fans, journalists and fighters to speculate about what’s next. But, first things first, the Cowboy fight needs to happen and McGregor is facing a veteran fighter who holds multiple UFC records.