Is a new UFC weight class on the way? And will Conor McGregor be that division’s first champion? Former UFC title challenger and BT Sport analyst Dan Hardy sure seems to think so, and the 38-year-old also believes the Irish superstar could be the person who ultimately helps make that new division happen.
Hardy revealed his idea for a new 162-pound division to be lodged between the 155-pound lightweight limit and 170-pound welterweight waters.
“If I’m Conor McGregor, I’m pushing for a belt in between the two weight classes,” Hardy said. “I’m pushing for an inaugural fight against someone like Paul Felder or even Kevin Lee would be a good option because we know he’s too big for lightweight now.”
In short, Hardy believes McGregor is caught in between weight classes right now and that the 31-year-old is one of the few UFC fighters who could do something about it by pushing the UFC to create a new division.
In turn, McGregor seeking the creation of that new division would also help the other fighters who Hardy believes are in the same boat.
“There are a few guys who are caught right between, and I think Conor could just create his own belt,” said Hardy.
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Conor McGregor vs. Jorge Masvidal for BMF Belt at 162?
One of the bigger names Hardy sees as a possible tweener is welterweight contender Jorge Masvidal.
Sure, the 35-year-old currently holds the BMF title he earned by stopping Nate Diaz at UFC 244 last year, but Hardy wonders if that BMF title might just become the new 162-pound UFC belt instead.
“There’s no reason why Masdival can’t put the BMF title on the line and make that a 162 title shot,” Hardy said.
So Hardy envisions the UFC’s new 162-pound weight class benefiting McGregor, Masvidal and several other notable names.
Moreover, while McGregor and Masvidal are big enough names within the MMA world to perhaps not need that new weight class to exist, Hardy thinks the rest of the contenders in a potential 162-pound division would be much better served by McGregor and Masvidal pushing for the creation of the new weight class to happen.
“I feel like there are so many opportunities to add that weight class in between and so many fighters that fall in between those two weight classes,” Hardy said. “Conor and Masvidal are the two really who have the power to create that weight class. And I think it needs doing, and I think it would create a lot of interesting contenders.”
Other Potential 162-Pound Contenders
In addition to McGregor, Masvidal, Felder and Lee, Hardy also mentioned Dan Hooker and Charles Oliveira as potential 162-pounders.
“Dan Hooker is eventually going to have to go up. He’s a big dude,” Hardy said. “We’ve seen Charles Oliveira shift up a weight class and look really good. I wouldn’t be surprised if he could put another seven pounds on and fight up again.”
And Hardy thinks all those guys might just be the tip of the 162-pound iceberg.
“There are lots of guys just kind of waiting in the wings for the opportunity,” Hardy said.
You can watch Hardy’s full explanation in the video below.
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