Conor McGregor is still several weeks away from attempting to take lightweight gold from reigning champ Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 196, but his coach is already speculating about a possible move to 170 pounds.
In a column written on the42.ie, SBG Ireland head trainer John Kavanagh addressed the recent rumors that his charge might eventually fight Robbie Lawler for the welterweight strap.
“I’ve seen that [rumors] of Conor fighting Robbie Lawler for the [170-pound] belt at UFC 200 on July 9 have been gathering momentum,” Kavanagh wrote. “It’s not something we have discussed specifically but after Conor wins the lightweight belt, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the next fight is for the welterweight belt.
“If that’s what Conor wants to do, I’ll absolutely support that move. I think that would be fantastic. We’re already talking about making history in a few weeks, but can you imagine what it will be like if Conor is the champion in three weight classes by the summer?”
McGregor captured the featherweight title with a 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo this past December. However, it is unclear when the “Notorious” Irishman will return to 145 pounds to defend his crown. At the moment, it sounds as though he is much more comfortable at lightweight.
“Normally at this stage -- three weeks out from a fight -- there would be a lot of emphasis on the scales for Conor. However, given that he’s fighting at 155 pounds this time instead of 145 pounds, it’s nice not having to worry about bringing the weight down so much,” Kavanagh wrote.
“All the training is focused on improvement, as opposed to making weight. If anything, we’ve had more fun in this training camp than ever before. Nobody gets into this sport to be the best weight-cutter. This time, everything has been geared towards getting better, not getting lighter.”
McGregor was clearly drained from making the cut to featherweight, but the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship veteran has never missed weight for a UFC bout. While McGregor has said that he plans to eventually return to the division to defend his title, things could change if he defeats dos Anjos.
Kavanagh didn’t offer a prediction on McGregor’s future 145-pound prospects, as the SBG Ireland team is currently working toward a victory over dos Anjos in Las Vegas on March 5.
“He’s obviously already the featherweight champion but we haven’t thought about that recently as we’ve been totally focused on the lightweight belt. Once that’s out of the way, we’ll talk about what to do with the featherweight belt,” he wrote.
“As time goes on, it’s harder to predict what will happen in the future. Conor has a sort of unusual body type in that even though he can make featherweight, he’s still a very big lightweight,” Kavanagh continued. “Given some time, as well as a bit of strength and conditioning work, he could also be a force at welterweight. This is an interesting time.”