Joe Rogan: Conor McGregor should take ‘tune-up fight’ for UFC return, not Kamaru Usman

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Joe Rogan: Conor McGregor should take ‘tune-up fight’ for UFC return, not Kamaru Usman

Joe Rogan thinks Conor McGregor needs a tune-up fight for his UFC return.

McGregor (22-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) has been pushing to challenge UFC welterweight champion and No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter Kamaru Usman next, but Rogan thinks it’s a bad idea for him to fight Usman (20-1 MMA, 15-0 UFC) after what will be a more than yearlong layoff from competition.

“If Conor wants the most chance of success, I would say fight a guy who is a little below championship level,” Rogan said on a recent episode of “Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson.” “Maybe a guy on the come-up, who Conor has an advantage over, but it’s still a competitive fight. Give him a test, but don’t put him in there right away with Usman.”

The UFC commentator and popular podcast host thinks McGregor should treat his comeback the same way he did when he returned from a long hiatus in January 2020. McGregor faced Donald Cerrone at UFC 246, needing only 40 seconds to take him out with strikes.

“I think, honestly, when boxers come back from a long layoff and they come back from a loss, one thing that boxers do that’s smart is they have a tune-up fight,” Rogan said. “I think there’s a reason why they’ve been using tune-up fights forever like astute managers. They know you’ve got to knock the dust off and you’ll be better in the next performance. To jump right into a Dustin Poirier or right into, name it, Michael Chandler, like right into a guy who’s the elite of the elite.

“I think what Conor needs to do is what Conor wants to do. If Conor thinks he can go up and fight Usman and make a big payday, try to become a three-division champion, he should do that. He should do whatever he wants to do, but if I was like a manager to him, and I said what’s the best path to success, the best path to success is like the ‘Cowboy’ fight. No disrespect to ‘Cowboy,’ but that fight turned out to be kind of like a warm-up fight.”

McGregor hasn’t competed since a TKO loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 last July, where the fight was stopped after he broke his leg at the end of Round 1. The former UFC two-division champion stated on multiple occasions that he wishes to return at 170 pounds, but UFC president Dana White said he might not return until fall.

Joe Rogan: Conor McGregor should take ‘tune-up fight’ for UFC return, not Kamaru Usman