Kenny Florian explains why Conor McGregor needs to ‘stick to the UFC’

Kenny Florian breaks down Conor McGregor's options after his fight with Floyd Mayweather

Despite his underdog status with no professional experience on his resume, Conor McGregor managed to last more than nine rounds with arguably the greatest boxer of this generation when he faced Floyd Mayweather last Saturday night in Las Vegas.

McGregor not only held his own against Mayweather but he won rounds against the multi-division champion, who retired after the fight with a perfect 50-0 record.

After the fight was over, McGregor wasn’t ready to commit to what’s next for him while hinting that his future might lie in both boxing and mixed martial arts.

Former UFC title contender and current FOX analyst Kenny Florian commends McGregor on his performance against Mayweather in his boxing debut, but he still feels that the 29-year old Irishman will be best served by sticking to his chosen profession in mixed martial arts.

“I think he needs to stick to the UFC. That’s what he does best,” Florian explained on the latest Fight Society podcast. “I think he can create a similar legacy to what Floyd Mayweather did in boxing, he can do that very same thing in the UFC. He’s a bigger star now but at the end of the day he’s got money for three lifetimes. Does he want money for five lifetimes? I don’t fault him for that if he wants even more but I still think he’s a very talented and passionate mixed martial artist. That’s what he does best and that’s what he should do but it does get tricky when you think about it and you go ‘listen I might be able to make $40, $50 million fighting Paulie Malignaggi in a boxing match and maybe make $20 million fighting Nate Diaz in a trilogy fight. What would you do? I don’t know.

“For me, I just don’t want to see Conor McGregor in his second boxing match going up there with an 0-1 record. I just don’t think that’s a good look. He had nothing to lose fighting the best ever. At this point, I think this is where the mission returns and he should stick to what he does best and that’s fighting in the UFC.”


While it’s definitely possible that McGregor could cash a huge payday for fighting someone like Malignaggi, who is a former champion in his own right, Florian believes that there’s still a massive fight awaiting him in the UFC as well.

“I think it’s pretty simple. I think the biggest fight out there is the Nate Diaz trilogy fight,” Florian said. “I think that’s the one they’ve go to do. I think that’s the biggest fight that could happen right now. I think you do that at 155 pounds for the belt. I think Nate Diaz is absolutely deserving of it and just in terms of hearing everybody talking about it, that’s the one everyone wants to see. I think that’s the one you’ve got to make.”

McGregor will undoubtedly look to renegotiate his deal with the UFC should he plan his return to the Octagon in the near future, especially considering the drawing power he’ll hold following the record breaking event with Mayweather.

Add to that, McGregor’s first pair of fights against Diaz have resulted in two of the biggest pay-per-views in UFC history so a third matchup would undoubtedly result in a huge draw for the promotion as well.

Assuming McGregor could settle the rivalry with Diaz, Florian says there’s an even bigger fight on the horizon in the future that would keep the Irishman in the UFC while taking on arguably the other biggest pay-per-view draw in the history of the company.

“If I’m able to look a little bit further ahead, there’s this Georges St-Pierre guy out there as well, which I think would be an interesting fight for the fans as well,” Florian teased. “Whether that’s at maybe a catchweight at 165 or 170, I know Conor would probably be down for it.

“I know Georges St-Pierre would be down for it as well.”

Listen to Kenny Florian and coach Angelo Reyes on the latest Fight Society podcast via Libsyn or download and subscribe to the show via iTunes.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.