Early 2020 is going to be big for the UFC lightweight top-15, as champ Khabib Nurmagomedov defends against top contender Tony Ferguson, and Paul Felder and Dan Hooker collide in a high-stakes contender bout in New Zealand.
While those two fights will have significant impact on the division, two other lightweights, Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone are also scheduled to meet in January, but their fight will be in the welterweight division.
Seeing many moving parts atop the lightweight division, Paul Felder is hoping that former champion Conor McGregor stays at 170 pounds, where he has fought two of his last three fights in the UFC.
As far as how the division is moving along, Felder recently spoke to MMA Junkie and gave his thoughts on the division and the future of McGregor.
With several top contenders booked, Felder said he’s confused by Justin Gaethje waiting around for a title shot.
The top of the #UFC lightweight division doesn't lack intrigue. And if Conor McGregor wants to fight at welterweight now, then Paul Felder is all for him staying there.
Here's why: pic.twitter.com/yr76jfeoE2
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) December 11, 2019
“I think that’s the only really confusing part, I’m surprised that an active guy like Justin wants to wait,” Felder said. “I mean he’s put in the work, let him do his thing but I don’t see that happening. I don’t see him being able to just sit around and wait for a title shot. [Dustin] Poirier is still looking for a fight so depending on how things go on February 23 [against Hooker], could be a quick turnaround and maybe a number one contender spot can open up. I would love to fight Dustin. I have nothing but respect for the guy, but as you’ve seen, I can have nothing but respect for a guy and it’s not going to stop me from getting in your grill and letting you know I’m here to smash your face.”
There has been speculation that part of the reason why McGregor and Cerrone are fighting at 170 pounds is because McGregor has his eyes set on a fight with ‘BMF’ champion Jorge Masvidal.
Paul Felder is all for that plan.
“I like it,” Felder said. “That’s what I’m hoping though, because he wants to fight at  and he’s hunting that Jorge Masvidal fight, then let him do that. Take him lower down the rankings so guys like me and Dan Hooker who are putting in work at 155 pounds, guys like Justin Gaethje.
“Get him [McGregor] out of our way and let us fight for the belt and those big fights,” Felder concluded. “Because if he’s still in the rankings in the Top-3, Top-5, guys are going to want to fight him, guys are going to call him out, they’re going to wait to try and fight him, and it just mixes things up, it just muddies things up for us.”
Do you agree with Paul Felder that Conor McGregor should stay at welterweight?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/11/2019.