Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion, Conor McGregor, is currently ranked No. 3 at 155 pounds. That might be considered a generous position with “Notorious” having been out of action for over a year and competing just once since 2016.
A submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229.
More important, his place among the top lightweights muddies the waters, according to No. 6-ranked contender, Paul Felder. That’s because his fellow combatants, like Justin Gaethje, are chasing money before titles which in turn, hinders matchmaking efforts.
“He wants to fight at 170 and he’s hunting that Jorge Masvidal fight, then let him do that,” Felder told MMA Junkie. “Take him lower down the rankings so that guys like me and Dan Hooker, who are putting in work at 155 pounds, guys like Justin Gaethje, get him out of our way and let us fight for the belt in those big fights.”
Felder (17-4) will battle Hooker in the UFC Auckland main event on Sat., Feb. 22, 2020 inside Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. The victor will likely be at the top of a very short list of challengers for the winner of this upcoming title fight.
Unless McGregor intervenes.
“If he’s still in the rankings in the top three, top five, guys are going to want to fight him, guys are going to want to call out,” Felder continued. “They’re going to wait to try to fight him and it just mixes things up. It muddies stuff up for us.”
McGregor is making his return to action at the UFC 246 extravaganza next month in Las Vegas, Nevada; however, that fight will be contested at welterweight, a place not unfamiliar for opponent and ex-lightweight title contender, Donald Cerrone.
Though a win for “Cowboy” would probably be the easiest way to handle Felder's request.