Former dual-weight Conor McGregor hasn’t fought since fracturing his leg against Dustin Poirier in July, but ‘The Notorious’ faces a battle getting back down to 155 pounds if he returns to the octagon.
‘The Notorious’ has mostly fought at 155 pounds since he moved up a class to beat Eddie Alvarez and become the promotion’s first dual-weight champion at UFC 205 in November 2016.
But McGregor has taken his bodybuilding fascination to new heights and been piling on the pounds since fracturing his leg during his latest defeat by Dustin Poirier in July.
It’s common for mixed martial artists to fight considerably below their day-to-day weight in a bid to gain as much of an upper hand as possible, undergoing excruciating cuts in order to drop down the divisions.
McGregor, 33, would have to lose almost three stone if he were to return at lightweight, however, after boasting he’s ballooned up to 190 pounds during his recent recovery.
The Dubliner took to Twitter and shared his latest physique update with his nine million followers, hailing his bulked-up build as “190lbs of granite.”
As things stand, McGregor wouldn’t even make the middleweight cut-off of 185 pounds if he were to fight tomorrow, sharing more in common with the UFC’s light heavyweight division as far as frame is concerned.
Ireland’s most accomplished MMA combatant didn’t look nearly as nimble as his former self during consecutive defeats by Poirier earlier in 2021, however, and weightlifting isn’t likely to help in that pursuit.
McGregor looked particularly sluggish when he suffered a TKO loss to ‘The Diamond’ in Abu Dhabi at the start of the year.
But the lightweight division has changed drastically since he reigned triumphant, and titleholder Charles Oliveira is set to take on Poirier at UFC 269 next Saturday (Dec. 11).
The likes of Justin Gaethje, Beneil Dariush, Islam Makhachev and Michael Chandler are also among the ranked opposition hunting the 155-pound crown, each of whom would arguably beat present-day McGregor.
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And the recent gain in muscle may complicate any future attempts to fight at his former weight, meaning McGregor may be forced to consider his future lies at 170 (or higher).
Coach John Kavanagh recently joked to Submission Radio that the beefed-up striking specialist could bump up the divisions: “He is coming back to Ireland and will be back on the mats with me in the next couple of weeks.
“He is doing a lot of strength training at the moment, the guy is jacked I think he will be coming back as a middleweight!
“He is enthusiastic, excited and upbeat to come back in 2022 and although I am not sure when he will come back I know he will be back.”
Having failed to make the intended impact back at lightweight, he would likely struggle even more against the elite at welterweight, where Kamaru Usman has reigned as the dominant champion since March 2019.
McGregor’s powers inside the Octagon appear to have waned just as his empire outside the cage has flourished, with the suggestion that distractions have affected his commitments as a fighter.
At 33 years of age and having fought just three times in the past three years, a prize-fighting path makes most sense if he does make a UFC return, eyeing bouts guaranteed to draw mass appeal.
Both he and Diaz have long teased a potential trilogy-decider to put an end to their rivalry, while the likes of Jorge Masvidal and Khamzat Chimaev have been touted as potential blockbuster opponents.
Weight cuts are tough at the best of times, but after enjoying some career highlights in the lightweight division, McGregor may be forced to accept the 155lb limit is no longer a realistic target.