The UFC color commentator believes that McGregor is still a top draw for the promotion, but sees his skills as declining.
"And I think there’s other guys in the division that would also be very problematic for Conor as well. Even if Conor came back and fought Islam Makhachev. I think that’s a horrible fight for him as well. I think we’ve seen the limit of Conor’s skills at 155. And the biggest thing is, he makes a lot of money, he’s a pay-per-view draw. So, there’s a few guys out there that can get that payday, and Khabib’s not the one who wants it,” Hardy said on Submission Radio (via Denis Shkuratov of Bloody Elbow).
McGregor holds a 10-2-0 record in the UFC, but he has only won two fights in the last four-plus years, with one win coming at welterweight and one coming at lightweight. Hardy also predicts that if McGregor got a second shot at Khabib Nurmagomedov, it would end in the same fashion of their first fight at UFC 229.
"From Khabib’s perspective, he’s beaten Conor, he’s shut him down pretty comfortably over the space of several rounds. Like, Conor wasn’t really in the fight. As much as his tweets today have suggested that it was far more even than we remember, he wasn’t really in the fight, Khabib controlled it all the way through. The only time that Conor looked alright was in the third round when he started defending some takedowns, but that was short lived as well. It just doesn’t make sense to me, and I don’t think Khabib’s gonna take it, no matter what’s on the table for him. No amount of money is going to put Khabib back in there with Conor McGregor, because I think he wants to close the door on that. It must have been a very exhausting process for him to go through, to deal with Conor and all of his antics. And I honestly just feel that Khabib doesn’t feel like Conor deserves to be in there with him anymore.
"I have a criteria for people taking a championship fight, and it’s across the board, regardless of how big a pay-per-view draw they are. They’ve got to step on the scales at 155 in their previous fight, and they’ve got to be booked for five rounds. And Conor coming back and fighting Cowboy at 170 and fighting Poirier at 170 just doesn’t make the argument for me. It’s quite disrespectful to the division when you consider there’s other guys who have put good win streaks together. Yeah, it just doesn’t make sense to me, and I just don’t think Khabib is in need of any kind of amount of money that would put him back in there with McGregor either. Even if McGregor, as Khabib said, he needs 10 wins in a row. And I just don’t think Conor’s got the capacity at the moment to dedicate himself to three hard training camps over three good lightweights. I just don’t see it happening. And I’m not particularly disappointed about it, to be honest. I think the same outcome would happen again. I’d quite happily see Conor fight Poirier at 170, maybe a Nate rematch. There are fun fights for Conor, he’s just not lightweight championship material anymore. Especially not while Khabib’s the champion,” says Hardy.