FORMER UFC star Paul Felder has warned Conor McGregor that lightweight rivals are “passing him by”.
The Notorious, 34, has been out of action since July 2021 after breaking his leg in his trilogy fight with Dustin Poirier.
Jacked former double champ McGregor is primed for a blockbuster return to the UFC this year and Michael Chandler has campaigned to welcome him back.
However, former UFC lightweight star Paul Felder says Chandler is the fight McGregor should be hoping for as he wouldn’t be able to cut it against some of the younger guys.
Felder says McGregor wouldn’t want to fight Arman Tsarukyan, who is one of the “young, hungry absolute maniacs” in the division.
The retired 38-year-old, who has had spats with McGregor in the past, said: “I don’t mean this in any disrespect but I do think the division is just passing him by badly. I think it’s passing a lot of us.
“I’m older than him by a few years at least but this next generation of fighters, if you’re not in there mixing it up with them and on the mats with those types of dudes everyday — I know he’s training — but he’s going to have to definitely hope for fights like Michael Chandler, who’s a beast but those are the guys you can still compete with.
“You don’t want to be fighting Arman Tsarukyan or [Mateusz] Gamrot or these young, hungry absolute maniacs that are working their way up the division.”
Felder is also unsure whether McGregor would be able to return to the octagon and block out outside distractions such as starring in movies.
He continued: “I think he’ll always matter, as long as he’s at least teasing the idea of a return but that’s what worries me. He’s so busy.
“He’s filming Road House and all that kind of stuff. I don’t know if that is over or not. It’s tough.
“You’re on yachts. You’ve got mansions. You’ve got all this stuff. You’ve got businesses that you’re working on. You’re coming back from a huge injury.
“You take yourself out of the USADA testing pool. You’ve got to wait to get back in it. I don’t know. I don’t know if we’re going to see him in 2023, to be completely honest with you.”
Felder has also pointed towards McGregor’s boxing match with the legendary Floyd Mayweather as to why he isn’t a “dangerous champion” today.
The 2017 fight in Las Vegas ended via TKO, with Mayweather extending his unbeaten professional record to 50.
Felder added: “Let’s say he hadn’t gone and done the Mayweather thing and just strictly stuck to MMA, I think he would have been a dangerous champion and done some damage for a long time.
“But you take yourself out, you focus on another sport and you’ve got time away and then the pandemic hits and you come back and you get that leg injury.
“I just think it’s a lot going on to come back at the tippy top of the lightweight or welterweight division.”