Former UFC heavyweight star Brendan Schaub thinks featherweight champion Conor McGregor would outclass welterweight king Robbie Lawler, although he’s conceded he doesn’t feel confident in the Irishman’s chances against lightweight titleholder Rafael dos Anjos in his next bout.
Speaking with Joe Rogan (h/t Mike Drahota of LowKick), Schaub made some pretty bold claims about McGregor’s chances of beating the 170-pound champion should the two ever square off inside the cage:
I’m gonna say something crazy, Joe. Are you ready for this?
I think the toughest match-up possible for McGregor in the UFC is dos Anjos. I think the easier fight for him is Robbie Lawler. Robbie’s not gonna touch him. Not a chance. I think he f--ks Robbie up, and I love Robbie! Style wise he f--ks Robbie up.
McGregor is moving up to lightweight to face Dos Anjos, seeking to break new ground in the UFC, as he’ll become the first fighter in the company’s history to simultaneously hold two titles from different weight divisions should he win. The bout with the Brazilian will take place at UFC 196 in Las Vegas on March 5.
Fury’s Fight Picks agrees with the assessment made by Schaub, insisting that Dos Anjos at lightweight is a tougher fight for the Irishman than Lawler at welterweight:
Styles make fights: McGregor vs Dos Anjos at 155 is a tough fight for me to call, but I'd definitely favor McGregor over Lawler at 170.— Fury's Fight Picks (@FurysFightPicks) February 22, 2016
Indeed, McGregor is once again the underdog coming into a fight. Last year, before bouts against Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo, many were unsure the Irishman could cope with the skills of the featherweight stars. But he left both sprawled on the canvas under the bright lights, cementing his status as one of the sport’s all-time greats.
Now, it seems his eyes are fixed firmly on Dos Anjos. As we can see here, the featherweight champion has delivered a chilling message to his opponent in this trailer for the showpiece:
Should he get past the Brazilian, McGregor has expressed a desire to make a move up to welterweight too.
“So, why not go up?” was the champion’s response when asked about another potential move up in an interview with SevereMMA.com (h/t Ryan McKinnell of Yahoo Sports). “They get slower and they get less free. They get stiffer. Even more stuck than the lightweight division.”
Lawler is the top man in that division, having taken the title in a gruelling triumph over Rory MacDonald last year before getting the better of Carlos Condit in an equally entertaining battle last month. He’s a formidable champion, and like the Irishman, he's a fierce striker.
Although the prospect of McGregor getting inside the cage and facing Lawler looks a long way off yet, it’s something Bleacher Report’s Jeremy Botter doesn’t think should be ruled out:
Lawler vs. McGregor sounds absurd on the surface. But after all we've seen from this dude, it's like...why not?— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) February 10, 2016
Which is the more difficult fight for McGregor?
Should the Irishman stick to his word, then a showdown with Lawler at UFC 200 may well be in the cards. McGregor has shown a constant willingness to break new ground in the sport, and considering he’s backed up all his talk up to this point, a welterweight title shot would certainly be a fascinating watch should he get past Dos Anjos.
It’d been naive to look past UFC 196, though, when McGregor faces the biggest test of his MMA career. Dos Anjos has proven himself to be a classy opponent in recent bouts and has the attributes to nullify the Irishman for spells in the fight. He’ll make sure making history is far from easy for McGregor.