Mike Tyson is encouraging Conor McGregor to build his confidence and accept a tune-up fight in his return to the Octagon.
McGregor is still on the sidelines after undergoing surgery to repair the broken leg he suffered in his first-round technical knockout loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 this past July. Now nearing a return to competition, the ‘Notorious’ one has considered a fight against reigning UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. Several prominent figures in the sport have cautioned McGregor against pursuing Usman, and now the boxing legend is echoing those sentiments.
Tyson told Henry Cejudo on The Fight Card podcast that McGregor should fight a couple of times and rebound from his losses before getting those opportunities against the upper echelon of the division. It is something Tyson has done in his career, going on extended runs after losing his heavyweight titles.
“I’m a strong believer that after a defeat, you should do a couple of fights to get your feet wet,” said Tyson. “I’m a strong believer in that. Conor, I think you should build your confidence up and go do what you do: win excitingly.”
Cejudo suggested one of those fights should be against Tony Ferguson, the former UFC interim lightweight champion who recently returned against Michael Chandler at UFC 274 in May. ‘El Cucuy’ performed well in his first appearance in over a year until he was finished by a front kick in the second round.
Despite losing to Chandler, Tyson still sees Ferguson as a tough opponent for McGregor.
“Well, that’s a tough fight,” said Tyson. “He’s a warrior, regardless if he loses. He makes exciting fights. It’s hard to beat that guy. I don’t want a big-time guy [for Conor], let him get three fights and build his confidence back up. Every fight the opponent goes to a higher level.
“Even if he wins, he’s going to get hurt in the next fight and he can’t fight the next fight,” continued Tyson. “You get your experience down, three more fights, you feel good, you beat the last two guys who are really qualified opponents, now you go back out there.”
There is no shortage of opponents for McGregor to consider in his return. The SBG Ireland product has been challenged by lightweight and welterweight contenders such as Tony Ferguson, Michael Chandler and Jorge Masvidal in recent months.
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