Paul Felder thinks Conor McGregor might be past his sell-by date.
Although he will “always matter” and be a household name in the sport, Felder thinks McGregor’s days in MMA are numbered and that his best days are possibly behind him.
Speaking to MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin during a recent episode of “The Fighter vs. The Writer”, former UFC lightweight turned MMA analyst & commentator Felder explained why he doesn’t think we’ll see McGregor back in the Octagon in 2023.
“I think he’ll always matter, as long as he’s at least teasing the idea of a return but that’s what worries me,” Felder said. “He’s so busy. He’s filming Road House and all that kind of stuff. I don’t know if that is over or not. It’s tough.
“You’re on yachts. You’ve got mansions. You’ve got all this stuff. You’ve got businesses that you’re working on. You’re coming back from a huge injury. You take yourself out of the USADA testing pool. You’ve got to wait to get back in it. I don’t know. I don’t know if we’re going to see him in 2023. To be completely honest with you.”
However, if McGregor were to return, Felder believes the lightweight division — home to killers such as Islam Makhachev and Dustin Poirier — would have passed him by.
“I don’t mean this in any disrespect but I do think the division is just passing him by badly,” Felder said. “I think it’s passing a lot of us. I’m older than him by a few years at least but this next generation of fighters, if you’re not in there mixing it up with them and on the mats with those types of dudes everyday — I know he’s training — but he’s going to have to definitely hope for fights like Michael Chandler, who’s a beast but those are the guys you can still compete with.
“You don’t want to be fighting Arman Tsarukyan or [Mateusz] Gamrot or these young, hungry absolute maniacs that are working their way up the division.”
McGregor is still sidelined after breaking his leg against Dustin Poirier in their trilogy fight 18 months ago at UFC 264. He is expected to return to competition this year, promising to “slice through” whoever his next opponent is.