Make no mistake – Conor McGregor can win the UFC lightweight championship against Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 197. It will be a tough test, but he has the ability. He has proven, time and again, that he can overcome adversity, and surprise, well, everyone.

Whether or not he will accomplish such a feat is another matter, and looking at it with a critical eye, it becomes ever more unlikely when you consider the situation as a whole.

Frankly, with McGregor, what you may be seeing is the beginning of some serious burn out. Like Ronda Rousey, an equally popular champion who was on the promotional circuit for most of last year, McGregor may be starting to tire — the man himself has noted what an intense workload all the media duties and everything else can be — and taking a bout against Dos Anjos on such short notice, even while taking little damage against Jose Aldo at UFC 194, may not be the wisest course of action.

There’s something else that is problematic, however, beyond just a heavy workload. Plenty of fighters, after all (most notably Donald Cerrone) love a heavy workload.

However, the bigger concern now appears to be focus. Writing for Ireland’s The 42 yesterday, in regards to the Notorious’ rise up in weight classes, his coach, John Kavanagh, wrote

maybe the pursuit of belts won’t stop there either. I’ve said from the beginning that welterweight may not be out of the question. One of Conor’s main sparring partners, Gunnar Nelson, is a welterweight, so Conor is very used to that feel. I would not be at all surprised if we’re preparing to go for a third belt a year from now.

He also suggested a meeting at UFC 200 against Frankie Edgar. Look, it has been assumed that, if healthy, McGregor would be part of UFC 200, especially now that Ronda Rousey apparently won’t be, per Dana White. That said, it’s too early to be talking about it, and way too early to even think about McGregor moving to welterweight. That should, without question, not happen until both his time at featherweight, and possibly lightweight as well, has played out. Just because he trains with Gunnar Nelson doesn’t mean he’s ready for someone like Robbie Lawler, or any number of fighters who are cutting weight just to make the 170lb limit.

Lack of focus kills fighters, and their coach is a reflection of them. We all criticized Edmond Tarverdyan for buying into the hype around Ronda Rousey and not effectively guiding his pupil, yet are we witnessing the same here from Kavanagh and not calling it for what it is?

Is this where the McGregor train finally derails?

It very well may be. Yet once bitten, twice shy — betting against him is never a safe bet.


About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.