McGregor was originally scheduled to fight lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 196, but after the latter went down with a broken foot, the Irish star agree to face Diaz at welterweight. Although McGregor came up short in their first bout, he wanted to fight Diaz again at 170, and will do so on July 9th.
Well, McGregor’s willingness to fight at 145, 155 and 170 has been met with widespread praise from fans (and Dana White). But, according to Lawal, the featherweight champ shouldn’t be receiving credit for bringing moneyweight fights to MMA. At a recent media day for Bellator, Lawal was quoted saying (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“People want to credit Conor McGregor, how about guys like Din Thomas?” Lawal said. “Din Thomas is the original moneyweight fighter. Sakuraba was the original moneyweight fight. Royce Gracie was the original moneyweight fighter. I’m a throwback fighter. These guys back then didn’t care about weight class.”
“Now all of a sudden people want to give the credit to Conor?” Lawal said. “Or me? I don’t deserve credit for nothing. I’m copying what these guys did back in the past…”
Fair enough, although, one could argue that McGregor’s willingness to fight at higher weight classes is still impressive, even if many others have also done so. McGregor’s decision also received a lot of attention, because traditionally, the UFC did not want reigning champs to change weight classes, without vacating the title.
This aside, Lawal is scheduled to fight light-heavyweight Phil Davis on May 14th. Lawal competed in Rizin FF’s heavyweight tournament in December, and won it…Last February, the accomplished wrestler worked his way to a split decision win over veteran heavyweight, Cheick Kongo.