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22nd Nov 2016

Conor McGregor is too small for welterweight, warns top contender Stephen Thompson

Sooner or later, size has to matter

Darragh Murphy

Would welterweight be a bridge too far for the weight class traversing phenomenon that is Conor McGregor?

Sure, McGregor has technically stood on the scales with the weight limit set at 170lbs but he’s yet to fight a legitimate welterweight.

That could all change if ‘The Notorious’ decides to do what plenty of fight fans reckon he will do which is to move up to challenge Tyron Woodley with the hope of adding a third belt to his ever-growing collection.

After becoming the first fighter in UFC history to hold two titles simultaneously, McGregor wants to cement his legacy as the pound-for-pound greatest, a status that would be hard to deny him if he was to claim welterweight gold too.

But that’s much easier said than done and eventually size will begin to matter and Stephen Thompson, the most recent challenger at welterweight, reckons the Irishman would come unstuck in a 170lbs title fight.

“I think the UFC knows that I deserve that title shot and I deserve that rematch,” Thompson told Submission Radio. “I think that Conor McGregor’s got to defend the 145lbs and the 155lbs title and I just think he’s too small for the 170lbs division.

“He’s walking around right at 170lbs, maybe a little bit less. I don’t think it would be a good division for him to step up to.”

For his pair of fights with Nate Diaz, McGregor came in at 168lbs and didn’t need to cut any weight whatsoever whereas a fight against the elite in the UFC’s welterweight division would mean giving up upwards of 20lbs come fight night.

“I was walking around at 182lbs about two weeks before the fight,” Thompson revealed.

“When I stepped in the Octagon, I was weighing about 178lbs, which is way too light especially when you’re fighting somebody like Tyron Woodley who’s probably stepping back in there at about 195lbs or 200lbs.”

Many have warned that taking on a genuine 170lber would be a massive mistake for the Dubliner but, then again, similar warnings were issued when he decided to take on Chad Mendes on short notice, and when he made the call to fight Eddie Alvarez.


McGregor is a risk-taker and an entertainer, and he’s already positioned himself perfectly for a clash with Woodley after the pair exchanged words at the UFC 205 weigh-ins in a move that Thompson, who fought ‘The Chosen One’ to a majority draw the next night, has praised.

“I think it’s very smart, very intelligent of him,” Thompson said. “He’s already out there talking trash to Tyron and doing his thing, doing what Conor McGregor does. Just think about it. A few years ago he was living in his car, he had no money. Now he’s a multi-millionaire. Hats off to that guy. I’m happy for that guy.

“A lot of people look down on people who are successful but Conor McGregor is successful because he runs his mouth and he knows how to put on a show. I mean look at his press conferences. People show up to see him just act nuts. Hats off to that guy, he’s a very intelligent and a very smart guy.”

And while ‘Wonderboy’ doesn’t think it would be a smart move for McGregor to challenge a welterweight, that doesn’t mean that the karate expert would turn down a chance to compete against the outspoken Irishman.

“I think it would be a good fight, no matter what,” Thompson said of a potential super-fight with McGregor. “He’s one of the best fighters out there and that’s what we’re out to do. We’re out to fight the best fighters in whatever division, whoever steps up. We’ll take on any challenges and I think that’s what fighters do.

“If you’re a champion or not, you should take on all challenges and I think it would be a good fight. I think the fans would tune in to see who would win.”

He’s not wrong there.
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