Times Have Changed for Conor McGregor: ‘They’d All Swallow Conor’

Conor McGregor

Getty Conor McGregor

Although former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor was once a ranked pound-for-pound fighter, times have changed for the Irishman, Kings MMA founder Rafael Cordeiro pointed to in an interview.

In 2016, McGregor was at the height of his competitive powers after capturing the lightweight championship as the 145-pound king. Fast forward around seven years and he’s 1-3 inside the Octagon and 1-4 in combat sports since then. “Notorious” remains the biggest superstar mixed martial arts has ever seen, and his UFC return opposite Michael Chandler later this year will likely be another blockbuster event.

But while speaking on MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca, Cordeiro said that from a competition level, the 155-pound division has passed McGregor by. The Irishman has built a luxurious life for himself, which was only possible through his domination inside the cage, as well as his charismatic and bold personality.

But, Cordeiro believes that all of the distractions outside of fighting caught up to Notorious, rendering him a lesser version of a fighter than he once was.

Cordeiro Said McGregor ‘Lost Hunger,’ Lightweight Top 15 Would ‘Swallow’ Him

Cordeiro dropped several names that he predicts would have their way with McGregor, and then took it a step further by declaring the entire lightweight top 15 would “swallow Conor.”

“There’s Arman [Tsarukyan], a super tough kid. There’s [Mateusz] Gamrot, [Dustin] Poirier, [Justin] Gaethje. A lot of people. [Rafael] Fiziev, super tough guy,” Cordeiro said. “Those are names that, f***, I’d much rather watch them fight than Conor. And everybody fights [McGregor] now for what he represents. He’s lost that challenge thing, ‘I wanna fight Conor because he’s tough and knocks everybody out.’ No, it has gotten to a point where people couldn’t care less for that. ‘I wanna fight this guy because he generates good money.’ That’s what they worry about.

“People worry more about those top-15 guys than Conor now, to tell you the truth. These top-15 guys today, they’d all swallow Conor. Nothing against Conor, but, unfortunately, the time away, the leg surgery, the [lack of] motivation, the money, the drinking, looking swollen of booze — he’s living life like crazy, so you lose the interest a little bit. He’s doing The ‘Ultimate Fighter’ now, the Conor show, but where’s the guy in the mountains, training quietly? That’s the champion. When you have media ahead of everything else you automatically lose a bit of the hunger, I think.”

Cordeiro Thinks McGregor Will KO Chandler, Could Lead to a 155-Pound Title Eliminator

Although a date, weight class or venue have yet to be officially announced, McGregor and Chandler are set to fight later this year. And should McGregor get past Chandler — which Cordeiro believes he will — then Cordeiro said a fight could open up between McGregor and the winner of Charles Oliveira vs. Kings MMA’s Beneil Dariush to determine the next 155-pound title contender.

“[Chandler] puts on a show but he’s a kill-or-be-killed guy, you know what I mean?” Cordeiro said. “Not disrespecting him, but with so many good people [ranked] behind him with potential to break him … this fight is more of a warm-up fight for Conor.”

“I think Conor knocks him out, to tell you the truth,” the Brazilian coach continued. “They’ll box, Chandler has those heavy hands but that’s only one punch, and he fights with his hands low and goes to a brawl — and if you go to a brawl with Conor, he’ll counter. I think Conor beats Chandler and then there’s a spot open for maybe ‘Benny’ and Charles to see who gets the next title shot, if that’s what [McGregor] wants.”

McGregor spoke with Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour” last week and said his fight with Chandler would be contested at welterweight, and that he would “like” a 170-pound title shot if he defeats “Iron.”

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