Conor McGregor is set to return to the Octagon on January 18 inside the T-Mobile Arena from Las Vegas, Nevada. McGregor will take on Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in a welterweight main event on pay-per-view (PPV) for UFC 246.
Many fans were surprised that McGregor opted to take the fight at 170 pounds, especially when he’s gunning for a title fight at lightweight against Khabib Nurmagomedov. On a recent episode of longtime UFC commentator Joe Rogan’s podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” Rogan offered his thoughts on why McGregor is fighting Cerrone at welterweight. (H/T MMA Fighting)
“Because Conor doesn’t want to lose any weight,” Rogan said. “I think that guy tortured himself to get down to 145 so hard – and when you look at what he looked like when he was on the scale, when he was flexing, he looked like a god damn zombie. It was horrible. So I think, whether he complains or not about that, nobody rides for free.
“You do that to your body for a couple of years, you do some damage and it makes it harder to lose the weight afterwards. So then he’s going up to 155. He’s obviously elite at 155, wins the title at 155, has the great rematch with Diaz at 170 and then comes back and fights Khabib at 155 and gets mauled.
“He has a fight with Cowboy, he’s really a 55er that can fight welterweight. That’s the right size for him versus, I don’t think Nate is fighting 155 any time in the future anymore.”
Rogan then explained why he thinks this is a smart option, on behalf of McGregor, suggesting the Irishman doesn’t see Cerrone as a true welterweight.
“He’s fighting a guy who, I think in his eyes is not really a welterweight,” Rogan said. “I think he thinks of Cowboy as a guy who will fight at 170 but he’s really a 55er… I think Conor’s calculated in his comeback. I think this is a smart fight for him because he’s not fighting someone who is too big, where I feel like that was the argument about Nate even though Nate did fight at 155 for a long time. He’s a big dude.
“And then there’s some other guys that want to fight him at 170 that are real 170s. [Jorge] Masvidal is a perfect example of that. Masvidal was a 155er for a long time but he’s not anymore.”
What do you think about Rogan’s prediction as to why McGregor has opted to fight at 170 pounds?