UFC color commentator, Joe Rogan has urged former two-weight champion, Conor McGregor, to accept a “warm-up” fight in his expected Octagon return this year, before chasing a third title against welterweight kingpin, Kamaru Usman.
Conor McGregor, who is expected to return to the Octagon in the fall as per UFC president, Dana White – has called for both an immediate lightweight title fight against current champion, Charles Oliveira in his UFC return, but most recently, welcomed a welterweight title siege in a bid to become a three-weight world champion, against Usman.
“I believe myself versus (Kamaru) Usman for the 170lb title for my comeback fight is the one I’m eyeballing at the minute,” Conor McGregor said. “I’ve gotten myself down to a lightweight frame, but I’m big now. I feel big. I feel strong. I feel healthy. I’ve got good energy.”
Conor McGregor has been sidelined since a UFC 264 loss to Dustin Poirier last July
However, despite McGregor’s calls for a welterweight title affair against Usman, the #2 ranked, Leon Edwards is expected to rematch the latter in a title fight this summer, with a July landing pad for the title re-run currently earmarked by the organization.
Sharing his thoughts on McGregor’s impending Octagon return later this year, Rogan appeared on HotBoxin’ with Mike Tyson – where he suggested Conor McGregor fight a less than elite level opponent in his next UFC walk.
“If Conor (McGregor) wants the most chance of success, I would say fight a guy who is a little below championship level,” Joe Rogan said. “Maybe a guy on the come-up, who Conor has an advantage over, but it’s still a competitive fight. Give him a test, but don’t put him in there right away with (Kamaru) Usman.”
“I think, honestly, when boxers come back from a long layoff and they come back from a loss, one thing that boxers do that’s smart is they have a tune-up fight,” Joe Rogan continued. “I think there’s a reason why they’ve been using tune-up fights forever like astute managers. They know you’ve got to knock the dust off and you’ll be better in the next performance. To jump fight into a Dustin Poirier or right into, name it, Michael Chandler, like right into a guy who’s the elite of the elite.”
In McGregor’s most recent win, the Dubliner stopped Donald Cerrone with a blistering 40-second knockout win in January 2020. And Rogan believes an opponent of the same calibre as Cerrone should await McGregor when he returns.
“I think what Conor needs to do is what Conor wants to do,” Joe Rogan said. “If Conor thinks he can go up and fight Usman and make a big payday, try to become a three-division champion, he should do that. He should do whatever he wants to do, but if I was like a manager to him, and I said what’s the best path to success, the best path to success is like the ‘Cowboy’ (Donald Cerrone) fight. No disrespect to ‘Cowboy’, but that fight turned out to be kind of like a warm-up fight.” (Transcribed by MMA Junkie)
Following a recent appearance at Blanchardstown District Court, Conor McGregor insisted that he would prefer to compete at the welterweight limit in his return to active competition following his July tibia fracture.