Jon Anik: Conor McGregor’s UFC return at middleweight would have ‘no divisional relevance’

Add UFC commentator Jon Anik to the list of people who are not intrigued by the idea of Conor McGregor fighting at middleweight.

McGregor, a former two-division UFC champion, is expected to make his octagon return June 29 against Michael Chandler. Although not officially confirmed by the UFC, “The Notorious” announced his comeback date and opponent after nearly three years on New Year’s Eve, but the unexpected twist that threw many off guard was that the bout would be contested at middleweight.

Neither fighter has ever competed at 185 pounds. McGregor (22-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) started his UFC run at featherweight, moved up to lightweight and has dabbled at welterweight. Chandler (23-8 MMA, 2-3 UFC), for his part, has only fought 155-pound bouts during his octagon tenure but made appearances at welterweight during his Bellator run.

It remains to be seen if the contracted weight will be middleweight when both fighters sign their bout agreements, but Anik can only see one logical explanation for it happening in that division.

“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.”

Although McGregor, 35, returning to competition from his horrific broken leg suffered against Dustin Poirier in July 2021 will be a monumental event regardless, any and every fight is elevated by the potential stakes attached to it.

McGregor is currently unranked in any weight class due to his layoff, but Chandler finds himself No. 12 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie lightweight rankings. If McGregor wanted to make an impact on a weight class, the fight would have to happen there, but Anik sees that as unlikely, too.

Anik ultimately predicts the fighters will step on the scale at weigh-ins for a welterweight contest before their International Fight Week headliner at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, but he’s steadfast in his opinion that the higher the weight, the less meaning the result carries.

“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.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie