Longtime UFC play-by-play man Jon Anik has no interest in seeing Conor McGregor compete at middleweight.
McGregor, a former two-division UFC champion, kicked off 2024 by revealing to the world that he will be making his return to the Octagon on June 29 to headline the promotion’s annual International Fight Week festivities in Las Vegas. However, the Irishman threw fight fans a curveball when he revealed that his comeback fight against ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler would take place at 185-pounds. A weight he has never fought at before. In fact, neither fighter has.
McGregor kicked off his UFC career competing in the featherweight division before making the move up to lightweight. Since then, he has dabbled at welterweight for bouts against Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone. As for Chandler, the former Bellator MMA champion has only competed at lightweight since signing with the UFC, but he did make some appearances at welterweight for his previous employer.
It remains to be seen if McGregor’s middleweight demand makes it into the final contract, but Anik can only see one logical reason why ‘Mystic Mac’ would stick to his guns about the bout being contested at 185.
“I pray that’s our reality (that it doesn’t happen at middleweight),” Anik told MMA Junkie Radio. “If I was writing a pay-per-view open, and I do write those myself, I would eliminate the weight class probably. I probably would eliminate the weight class from my pay-per-view open and just focus on a returning Conor McGregor.
“The only defense for that fight happening at middleweight, with respect to my friend Conor McGregor, is his leg. And if they just don’t want him (to) and he doesn’t want to cut the weight, to try to have that leg be as strong as humanly possible to try to get through that first fight.”
By the time Conor McGregor steps back into the Octagon, it will have been nearly three years since his devastating loss to Dustin Poirier. As a result, he currently holds no ranking in any UFC weight class. A win over Chandler at middleweight, or even welterweight for that matter, would likely do very little to change that situation.
In reality, the best way for McGregor to make the most of his scrap with Michael Chandler is to meet him in the division where ‘Iron’ currently holds the No. 12 ranking — lighweight. Unfortunately, Anik can’t see that happening.
“It has no divisional relevance at ’85,” Anik said. “Really doesn’t have much at ’70. And I have long sort of wished that Conor McGregor would compete more at 155 pounds. He has only one lightweight win career-wise in the UFC against Eddie Alvarez. He did not defend the lightweight title, did not successfully defend the lightweight title.
“I would just like to see the man competing at ’55, but this fight with Michael Chandler is not going to be at 155 pounds. But I think I would have to eliminate (the weight) from the pay-per-view open process because it just seems such a stretch. And I do hope for both their sake it is at ’70, and Conor was just saying that tongue-in-cheek.”