UFC 246: How Conor McGregor's physique has changed over his last six fights

UFC 194: Aldo vs. McGregor

Conor McGregor is just a few days away from making his UFC return against Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone.

Ever since a four-punch combination flattened Eddie Alvarez during that historic night at UFC 202, McGregor's career has been blighted with defeats and frustrating inactivity.

His only MMA bout since becoming 'champ-champ' saw him defeated convincingly by lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov with a fourth-round submission.

So, McGregor is out for redemption on January 18 and one of the biggest topics of discussion ahead of his return has been the fact the fight is taking place at welterweight.

It makes sense when you consider 'Notorious' wants to avoid a gruelling weight cut, but making Cerrone come down to lightweight would surely have given him an advantage.

McGregor's physique transformation

But welterweight it is and fight fans have been intrigued by any photographs of McGregor's physique since the news broke to see how he's adapting to the heavier division.

So, in light of that speculation, we've decided to run through McGregor's six fights prior to UFC 246 in an attempt to see how the Irishman's physique has evolved across the weight divisions.

1. Vs Jose Aldo, December 2015 - 145lbs (featherweight)

Wowsers. When McGregor stepped onto the scales for his shot at Aldo's featherweight title, he'd arguably never looked worse and his emaciated figure make our eyes water now.

The Dublin native filled out his frame a little better on fight night - although he only needed to compete for 13 seconds - but you can see why McGregor will never fight at featherweight again.

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2. Vs Nate Diaz 1, March 2016 - 168lbs (welterweight)

What a difference three months and 23 pounds can make: McGregor emerged like a new man after leaping up two whole weight divisions.

The Irishman looked much fuller in the face; had built extra muscle on his arms and shoulders and looked fresher for the fact he wasn't at death's door.

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3. Vs Nate Diaz 2, August 2016 - 168lbs (welterweight)

No change here. McGregor ensured no stone was left unturned after suffering his inaugural UFC defeat in the first bout with Diaz, but one thing he didn't change was his weight.

That being said, you could tell that McGregor looked more comfortable in the division and had greater time to prepare, looking leaner despite maintaining the same muscle mass.

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4. Vs Eddie Alvarez, November 2016 - 154.4lbs (lightweight)

After a comfortable few months at welterweight, McGregor returned to the brutal world of weight cuts by dropping down to lightweight and shed more than one stone in the process.

However, you've got to say this looks like McGregor's optimal weight. He appeared the perfect balance between lean and bulky, which seriously paid off in a fight that remains his masterpiece. 

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5. Vs Floyd Mayweather, August 2017 - 153lbs (light-middleweight)

McGregor was forced to shave off an extra pound and a half when he made his debut in the world of boxing, weighing in more than 1.5 kilograms heavier than his eventual conquerer Mayweather.

You could even argue that he looked in better shape here than he did for the Alvarez fight, packing in every ounce of the muscular frame that we saw during the Diaz duopoly.

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6. Vs Khabib Nurmagomedov, October 2018 - 154.5lbs (lightweight)

It's hard to criticise an elite athlete when it comes to their physique, but there was just something about McGregor on the scales that looked worse than UFC 205 despite weighing in the same.

That being said, it still indicated that lightweight is his optimal division and all the whiskey he's admitted to drinking on fight-week didn't seem to harm his muscles all that much.

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Next time out...

7. Vs Donald Cerrone, January 2020 - approximately 160lbs (welterweight) 

The biggest weight jump in almost half a decade for McGregor, the 31-year-old has admitted that he's on course to step on the scales way below the welterweight limit and his Diaz peak.

However, we're still a little unsure about those comments because, unless it's the trickery of Instagram, McGregor actually looks bulkier than ever and his cardio could pay the price.

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GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says

It's fair to say McGregor's body has been through the wringer over the last four years.

You've got to say that leaving featherweight behind has been the right decision for the UFC legend when you look back at how moribund he seemed before clashing with Aldo.

However, I'm not convinced that welterweight is the right division for McGregor, even if it shouldn't make too much of a difference for the Cerrone fight. 

UFC 196: McGregor v Diaz

Hopefully we get to see the former champion consistently making lightweight and lining up fights against the likes of Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson without ruining his body in the process.

Besides, you've got to worry for McGregor if he was to step in the octagon with some of the bigger welterweights, especially if he was taken to the trenches in the later rounds.

Ultimately, though, any way McGregor can rediscover the magic he mustered against Alvarez, I'm on board with.

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