Former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor recently made waves by showing what appeared to be an incredibly bulked-up physique, but Joe Rogan doesn’t think all is as it originally seemed.
For the first time since 2016, McGregor entered the Octagon twice in the same calendar year in 2021. But while he avenged a loss to Nate Diaz and became the first-ever simultaneous UFC double champ five years ago, his fortunes have been less favorable across the last 12 months.
Having re-visited his rivalry with Dustin Poirier, whom he defeated back in 2014, McGregor saw his score with “The Diamond” fall from 1-0 to 1-2 in the space of six months. On Fight Island in January, the Irishman was knocked out for the first time. Fast-forward to July and a trash-talking iteration of McGregor left the cage on a stretcher after breaking his leg.
Since his injury at UFC 264, McGregor has continually updated fans on his healing process and teased a return; in-between his antics outside the cage, of course. Earlier this month, the 33-year-old posted an image that appeared to suggest he’d packed on a significant amount of muscle. The upload even led many to believe he could be gearing up for a return to the welterweight division next year.
Discussing the image of McGregor and the Irishman’s current physical state during an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, renowned UFC color commentator Rogan suggested the picture was slightly “deceptive.”
According to the 54-year-old, who has been a consistent figure at the commentary desk since 2002, McGregor may have been lifting weights at the time, something which would have accentuated his physique when the photo was taken.
“That’s him now, he’s super jacked. USADA’s gonna take a visit to him very soon. It’s a weird picture, honestly. I mean, he’s definitely jacked, but it looks to me like he’s in the middle of lifting. If you see a guy’s body in the middle of lifting, it’s a little deceptive… He’s still jacked. He still looks great. But when you lift weights, as you do it, like those bodybuilders go on stage before those big Mr. Olympia things, they all get pumped… He looks good though.”
McGregor Targets A Return To The Octagon In 2022
McGregor’s increased training and noticeable muscular gain appears to be in preparation for a return to the Octagon in 2022. With his fast-healing leg getting closer to full recovery, the Irishman appears as eager as ever to make the walk again, something he’s consistently expressed on social media.
While an opponent is far from being decided, McGregor has ambitiously set his sights on the gold. Prior to UFC 269, he suggested he’d make his comeback against whoever is holding the lightweight title at the time. That’s despite his #9 spot in the rankings.
After Charles Oliveira successfully defended his gold against McGregor’s rival Poirier, “The Notorious” megastar posted a series of tweets signaling his intent for a title clash with “Do Bronx” and another edition of Ireland vs. Brazil.
But if his so called “special treatment” doesn’t land him an immediate return to championship fights, McGregor has a number of other options.
As well as a potential trilogy clash with Nate Diaz, the likes of Michael Chandler and Max Holloway have also made their desire to face MMA’s biggest superstar well known.
Who would you like to see Conor McGregor face in his return fight?