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Former UFC featherweight and lightweight champ McGregor, who was stripped of his lightweight title due to inactivity, has only competed once in the octagon over the past two years, failing to re-capture 155-pound belt in a fourth-round submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229.
But McGregor’s position in the lightweight rankings has remained high, and numerous fighters have called him out for a fight in order to move up the ladder. However, McGregor wasn’t interested in taking up any of the offers.
Instead, he is set to return at welterweight, when he takes on Donald Cerrone at UFC 246. McGregor mapped out a plan that starts with Jan. 18’s fight, followed by Jorge Masvidal, who’s a 170-pounder, eventually leading to a rematch with UFC lightweight champion, currently Nurmagomedov.
And since McGregor’s next few fights appear to be at welterweight, Felder (17-4 MMA, 9-4 UFC) wants McGregor (21-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) out of the rankings, or at least pushed down a few spots, so guys like himself can continue their assent towards title contention.
“That’s what I’m hoping, because 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.
“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. They’re going to wait to try to fight him and it just mixes things up. It muddies stuff up for us.”
Felder will headline UFC Auckland when he takes on Dan Hooker on Feb. 22. A win over a fellow streaking lightweight, could place him in the upper echelon of the division, where guys like Justin Gaethje are waiting for their shot at the champion.
But Felder is surprised to see that Gaethje is opting to wait for a title shot, and should things go his way in Auckland, he would love to jump into a No. 1 contender spot.
“I’m surprised that an active guy like Justin wants to wait but he’s put in the work,” Felder said. “Let him do his thing. I don’t see that happening. I don’t see him just being able to sit around and wait for a title shot. Poirier is still looking for a fight. Depending on how things go on Feb. 23 it could be a quick turnaround and maybe a No. 1 contender spot could open up. I would love to fight Dustin. I have nothing but respect for that guy. But as you’ve seen I can have nothing but respect for a guy and it won’t stop me from getting in your grill and letting you know that I’m here to smash your face.”
News | MMA Junkie