Renowned UFC commentator Jon Anik recently expressed his skepticism about Conor McGregor’s decision to compete at middleweight. He will be making his much-anticipated comeback bout against Michael Chandler.
Former UFC two-division champion Conor McGregor said that he would be returning to the Octagon on June 29. He will be headlining the promotion’s annual International Fight Week celebrations in Las Vegas.
However, he surprised fans when he disclosed that his match with Michael Chandler would be at 185 pounds. This is a weight class he has never fought in, much like his opponent Chandler.
McGregor began his UFC career as a featherweight competitor before switching to the lightweight class. He has since dabbled in the welterweight division, taking on Donald Cerrone and Nate Diaz.
Former Bellator MMA champion Michael Chandler has only competed at lightweight since joining the UFC. However, he had prior appearances at welterweight during his Bellator MMA tenure.
Although it’s unclear whether McGregor’s middleweight demand will be included in the final agreement, Anik can think of just one reasonable explanation for McGregor to compete at 185 pounds.
Anik stated: “I pray that’s our reality (that it doesn’t happen at middleweight). If I was writing a pay-per-view open, and I do write those myself, I would eliminate the weight class probably. I probably would eliminate the weight class from my pay-per-view open and just focus on a returning Conor McGregor.”
“The only defense for that fight happening at middleweight, with respect to my friend Conor McGregor, is his leg. And if they just don’t want him (to) and he doesn’t want to cut the weight, to try to have that leg be as strong as humanly possible to try to get through that first fight.”
It will be almost three years from the time Conor McGregor returns to the Octagon after his defeat at the hands of Dustin Poirier. He is thus not ranked in any UFC weight class at this time.
Jon Anik expressed concerns about the choice of middleweight for this showdown. He emphasized the potential risk to McGregor’s performance due to his leg injury and questioned the validity of fighting in a higher weight class. Anik believes that a victory at middleweight or welterweight won’t significantly impact McGregor’s standing in the UFC rankings.
Actually, McGregor would be better off competing against Chandler in the lightweight class. This is where Chandler is presently ranked No. 12. Sadly, Anik is unable to see it occurring.
Anik continued: “It has no divisional relevance at ’85. Really doesn’t have much at ’70. And I have long sort of wished that Conor McGregor would compete more at 155 pounds. He has only one lightweight win career-wise in the UFC against Eddie Alvarez. He did not defend the lightweight title, did not successfully defend the lightweight title.”
“I would just like to see the man competing at ’55, but this fight with Michael Chandler is not going to be at 155 pounds. But I think I would have to eliminate (the weight) from the pay-per-view open process because it just seems such a stretch. And I do hope for both their sake it is at ’70, and Conor was just saying that tongue-in-cheek.”