Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis believes Conor McGregor has a better claim to the 155lbs belt than upcoming UFC 229 opponent Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is the current titleholder.
Given his status as a longtime top-tier lightweight, Pettis knows a thing or two about his division. The Milwaukee native is in the featured co-main event bout against former UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson. The winner is more than likely to be the next in line for a crack at the belt.
But until Saturday night’s main event unfolds, Pettis believes McGregor’s victory over Eddie Alvarez to win his championship has more credibility over Nurmagomedov’s victory over Al Iaquinta at UFC 223 to capture the vacant title.
“I think Conor’s win over Eddie solidifies him more as champion more than Khabib beating Al,” Pettis said during his pre-fight media scrum, per MMA Fighting.
“That’s just facts. The belt is where it is, they had to do it for the business, they had to move it forward, but if it was true to the game, Conor would be the champion,” Pettis concluded.
Pettis, who also held the WEC lightweight title before the promotion’s incorporation into the UFC, believes McGregor will recapture UFC lightweight gold against Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 on Saturday night.
As for how McGregor will pull off the win, Pettis was seemingly assured in his answer.
“I think Conor wins. Knockout. I don’t know what round.
“We’ve all seen his [Nurmagomedov’s] striking game… We saw him in his last fight against Al and how he performed. If he comes like that against Conor? I mean, that’s the wrong guy to do it against.
“I’m sure he’s motivated, I’m sure Conor’s motivated. But I’m picking Conor.”