Rising UFC welterweight contender Leon Edwards doesn’t believe Conor McGregor will challenge for the welterweight title anytime soon. Edwards told Metro the former featherweight and lightweight champion simply wasn’t big enough to seriously compete in the 170-pound division.
“Size matters so much when it comes to grappling and wrestling. And he’s small,” Edwards said per Metro.co.uk.
McGregor is 2-1 in the 170-pound division. The 31-year-old Irish superstar split fights against Nate Diaz in 2016 and stopped Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in January at UFC 246 in just one round.
Regardless, Edwards doesn’t believe McGregor has a real future in the 170-pound ranks.
“He’s a small man, and size can make a huge difference if you’re a striker jumping up a division,” Edwards said.
Edwards Has Own Welterweight Title Dreams
Edwards headlines UFC London later this month against former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. That event takes place on March 21 at the O2 Arena in London.
The American Woodley will have his hands full in taking on Edwards in front of the Englishman’s home crowd. An Edwards win over the former champ could move the fighter toward gaining his own welterweight title shot soon.
Edwards is currently ranked No. 4 in the UFC’s 170-pound division. Since losing to Kamaru Usman in December 2015, he’s reeled off eight straight wins.
Edwards Claims Inside Knowledge About McGregor’s Plans
Edwards doesn’t expect to have to get in line behind McGregor in the welterweight ranks to get a shot at the crown. The fighter claimed to have talked to McGregor about the Irishman’s future, and all signs were pointing to the division below.
“I’ve spoken to Conor a few times,” Edwards said. “I believe he’ll move down to lightweight.”
Moreover, beating Cerrone wasn’t enough in Edwards’ mind to prove McGregor could beat the best welterweights in the UFC.
“I can’t see him fighting for a welterweight title,” Edwards said.
Edwards Predicts Two Most Likely Opponents for McGregor
Regardless, Edwards said if McGregor does stay at 170, he’d expect the Irishman to complete the trilogy against Diaz over any other potential fight.
But Edwards doesn’t seem to think McGregor could seriously compete with any of the top fighters in the welterweight division, so he believes McGregor will either fight Diaz next or simply wait to see what happens when UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov defends his title against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 in April.
“If he does stay at welterweight, it’ll be against someone like Nate Diaz,” Edwards said. “I can’t see him fighting against a top-three welterweight.”
Nurmagomedov defeated McGregor via fourth-round submission at UFC 229 in October 2018, but UFC president Dana White seems hyper-focused on making the rematch between the star lightweights happen as soon as possible. UFC 229 was the best-selling UFC pay-per-view event of all-time, and the rematch could even break that record.
But the other huge fight on the table for McGregor is against Diaz. As Heavy reported yesterday, Diaz recently blasted his old foe on social media in what could be considered an effort to make the third fight happen.
For Edwards, though, it all comes down to those two names.
“It’ll be someone like Khabib (Nurmagomedov) or Nate (Diaz), I think,” Edwards said.