Since Conor McGregor took hold of the Featherweight title with a double-quick victory over Jose Aldo back at UFC 194 in December 2015, the Irishman has been conspicuous by his absence from the division.
Initially slated to fight Rafael dos Anjos at Lightweight before the Brazilian pulled out through injury, McGregor then took on Nate Diaz at 170 pounds in March of this year. And, last week, a rematch was confirmed for August meaning the Dublin native will likely go at least one year without defending his title.
Perhaps understandably, McGregor's absence from the division has angered his Featherweight rivals - most notably Aldo and Frankie Edgar who will meet for the interim title at UFC 200. Speaking today, Edgar went as far as to suggest 'The Notorious One' is scared of fighting at the weight again:
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"At 145 he has everything to lose. At 170, he has nothing to lose," Edgar said when speaking to The MMA Hour.
"I mean, even though Nate is a 155-pound guy, and he decided not to cut weight so they could go around and market the fact that he’s going up two weight classes; which is ridiculous because he is fighting Nate Diaz who is a 55 pounder.
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"If he loses at 70, well then, ‘Oh, he was too big, he’s fighting guys bigger than him.’ At 145, he loses then he has nothing. He loses his title, then what?"
Edgar's view is one that has been touted by plenty of fight fans over the past few months and McGregor himself even recently made reference to the weight gain he had to undergo to fight Diaz when explaining the shock loss.
McGregor has also struggled to trim weight for 145 pound fights in the past and, as such, many believe he is doing his best to leave behind that division having reached its pinnacle.
"He has a really hard time making that weight anyway," continued Edgar. "And if he goes to 55, he is not going to be in the title talks for a while.
"Conor is a smart guy. The way he promotes himself, the fights he gets, he’s a very smart guy, good coaches around him and they are making the right decisions for his career.”
It remains to be seen whether the Irishman does ever defend his Featherweight title or opts to give up the title to pursue other opportunities.
If he does return to the division after his UFC 202 bout, Edgar will be hoping he is the man who gets to face him for that title shot. A win over Jose Aldo on July 9 will give him that chance.
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