UFC lightweight Paul Felder thinks that Conor McGregor moving up to welterweight for his comeback fight could mess up the lightweight title picture, and because of that the Irishman should be dropped in the 155-pound rankings.
Felder (17-4) sits at sixth in the UFC lightweight rankings, while McGregor is at number three. Consecutive decision wins against James Vick and Edson Barboza have guided Felder to his spot at 155-pounds. “The Irish Dragon” told MMA Junkie that people like himself and Justin Gaethje should be in contention for the belt, not McGregor.
“He wants to fight at 170 and he’s hunting that Jorge Masvidal fight, then let him do that,” Felder said. “Take him lower down the rankings so that guys like me and Dan Hooker, who are putting in work at 155 pounds, guys like Justin Gaethje, get him out of our way and let us fight for the belt in those big fights.”
The 35-year-old continued by saying he was surprised by Gaethje’s decision to sit out and wait for a title shot. Felder also said even though he has “great respect” for former interim title holder Dustin Poirier, he would welcome a fight with him next year.
“I’m surprised that an active guy like Justin wants to wait but he’s put in the work,” Felder said. “Let him do his thing. I don’t see that happening. I don’t see him just being able to sit around and wait for a title shot. Poirier is still looking for a fight. Depending on how things go on Feb. 23 it could be a quick turnaround and maybe a No. 1 contender spot could open up.
“I would love to fight Dustin. I have nothing but respect for that guy. But as you’ve seen I can have nothing but respect for a guy and it won’t stop me from getting in your grill and letting you know that I’m here to smash your face.”
Felder just recently signed a new multi-fight deal with the UFC. The first fight on his new contract will be a main event fight against Dan Hooker in Auckland next year.