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Chael Sonnen: There’s an “Argument” Conor McGregor is #1 Contender at Welterweight

Ever since Justin Gaethje locked up the interim lightweight title, by stopping Tony Ferguson, there’s been a lot of talk regarding Conor McGregor [1] place in the division’s title shot mix.

But, Chael Sonnen [2] thinks we could see McGregor fighting at welterweight once again. Further, “The American Gangter” believes one could argue the “Notorious” one is the number one contender in that division.

Conor McGregor
Image Credit: UFC / Twitter

Sonnen outlines why McGregor might be #1 contender at 170 pounds

Not too long after Gaethje won the interim belt, and secured a fight with the champ, Khabib Nurmagomedov, McGregor warned the star he was going to “butcher” him. [3]In addition, McGregor argued that he, and not Khabib, would end up facing Gaethje next.

Well, due to all this, speculation about what will come next for McGregor has been making the rounds. But, while talking to BT Sports [4] recently Sonnen had this to say about McGregor (quotes via BJ Penn.com [5]).

“I think he’s going to fight at 170 and I think you could have the argument that Conor’s the number one contender at 170,” Sonnen said. “Look, if they do Usman and Masvidal and I hope they do and I hope that all gets worked out and we are just seeing some gamesmanship here.

I think that’s really is the right fight to do. I’m not sure you can’t say Conor’s not next in line. There are a number of good arguments, Leon Edwards comes to mind, you’ve always got T-Wood [Tyron Woodley] in there, Colby Covington.

“Conor’s name is just as good as anyone I just threw out. The guy has won three world championships. He diminishes himself saying he’s a champ-champ,” Sonnen continued.

“He is a champ-champ-champ, he’s won so many damn world championships he’s forgotten about the interim title.

I was there for the night he beat Chad Mendes, I was there when they put that around his waist. He’s got three world championships. Don’t tell me Conor McGregor doesn’t matter, he does.”

Does Sonnen have a point?

So, there’s a couple of things to look at here. As far as McGregor fighting at welterweight next, it does look like there’s a good chance of that, if he isn’t tapped to fight for the lightweight title (whether it’s due to someone getting injured etc).

It would be surprising if McGregor agreed to fight anyone at 155 pounds right now, aside from Nurmagomedov or Gaethje. So, if McGregor does want to fight in the interim, the most likely match-ups do appear to be at 170. Whether it’s someone like Jorge Masvidal or Nate Diaz.

But is McGregor the #1 contender at welterweight? That depends on how you view rankings.

In terms of his overall accomplishments, which Sonnen cited, sure, it’s certainly true that Conor is right up there in the sport.

But, as far as what he’s done at welterweight, the likes of Woodley, Covington, Edwards and Masvidal have all accomplished much more.

McGregor has two wins at welterweight, over Diaz and Donald Cerrone, with nearly four years between the fights. If you’re wondering, right now McGregor is ranked #4 at 155 and #14 at 170.