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UFC president Dana White says Conor McGregor will probably stay at welterweight with impressive win at UFC 196

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Everybody who has seen the side-by-side pictures of Conor McGregor at UFC 194 weighing in at 145 pounds and yesterday at UFC 196 weighing 168 pounds knows that the latter was a much healthier look for the Irish fighter.

And if you're asking UFC president Dana White, he'll tell you that he thinks McGregor's future is probably in a weight class where he doesn't look like a reanimated skeleton during the weight cut.

Which is a little awkward, given the fact the man just won the featherweight belt in December.

"I think if he wins impressively [Saturday], he doesn't even go back to 45," White said Friday in Las Vegas. "That's what I think. That weight cut is horrible for him. He looks terrible. I'm sure he feels terrible. I think he stays at 170 if he wins tomorrow."

Despite looking terrible during his weight cuts to 145 pounds, McGregor has never had performance issues. A day after Urijah Faber mocked the fighter for looking drawn out at UFC 189 weigh ins, the Irishman dispatched teammate Chad Mendes in two rounds.

We have yet to see what an all-beef diet McGregor looks like (we'll find out tonight), but it's safe to say he's easier on the eyes at this weight class. He's already said he wants to take the belt from Robbie Lawler, which has proven a nearly impossible task since Lawler snatched it from Johny Hendricks at UFC 181 in 2014.

And although a mere two months ago the idea of a jump to lightweight sounded laughable, let alone welterweight, don't be surprised if he starts hinting he wants to take a run at Luke Rockhold and company with the big dogs at 185 pounds.

Nevertheless, McGregor has always boasted he can get back down to 145 pounds "no problem" to defend his belt against Frankie Edgar or whoever else wants to get into the cage with him.

A prolonged absence from featherweight, however, would force Dana White to convince the king to abdicate his throne.

"That would be a non-issue if he doesn't go back and he understands that," White said. "Listen, when you're dealing with Conor McGregor, he's a smart guy. He gets business. He's not unreasonable about anything and he will fight anybody, anywhere at any time. How can anybody have a problem with that?

"When you're dealing with super talented people, they're always going to be quirky and different in their own ways. But no matter what you are, when you act and fight and step up for anything the way Conor does, you can't deny the kid."

How could you deny a man who commands a $1 million fight purse? After all, White said at the UFC 196 press conference Thursday that he would give McGregor a title shot against Lawler should he defeat Diaz.

Defeating a Diaz, however, is easier said than done. We shall see tonight. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 196 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.

For much more on UFC 196 including previews, predictions, videos, and more, check out our comprehensive "McGregor vs. Diaz" news archive by clicking here.

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