Former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor has fought at welterweight three times in the promotion, and he has expressed a desire to challenge Usman in his next bout.
McGregor is recovering from a broken leg he suffered in his last fight – the second of two losses to Dustin Poirier in 2021 – while Usman is set to defend the welterweight belt against Leon Edwards this summer.
Either way, McGregor has made his intentions clear as he seeks to become the UFC’s first-ever three-weight champion.
“If Conor wants the most chance of success, I would say fight a guy who is a bit below championship level,” Rogan said on the Hotboxing with Mike Tyson Podcast.
“Perhaps [fight] a guy on the come-up that Conor has an advantage over, but it’s still a competitive fight. Give him a test, but don’t put him with Usman just yet.
“I think, honestly, when boxers come back from a long layoff and they come back from a loss, one thing that boxers do in a smart way is they have a tune-up fight.
“I think there’s a reason they’ve always used tune-up fights, like shrewd managers. They know you gotta knock the dust down and you’ll be better in the next performance, [rather than] jump straight into a Dustin Poirier or straight into Michael Chandler – like straight into a guy who is the elite of the elite.
McGregor, 33, hadn’t competed in the UFC for two years before challenging undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title in October 2018, in a fight the Irishman lost via submission.
McGregor’s next outing came in January 2020, when he stopped Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in 40 seconds.
‘Notorious’ was then absent from the Octagon for 12 months and was eliminated – for the first time in his career – when he faced Dustin Poirier in his comeback contest. The pair fought again in July, with McGregor losing via TKO after breaking his leg.
“I think what Conor needs to do is what Conor wants to do,” Rogan added. “If Conor thinks he can come up and fight Usman and make a big payday, try to become a three-division champion, he should do it. He should do what he wants to do.
“But if I was like a manager to him and said, ‘What’s the best path to success? The best path to success is like “Cowboy” fighting. No disrespect to ‘Cowboy’, but this fight turned out to be a bit of a warm up fight.
No fighter in UFC history has held titles in three weight classes.
McGregor became the first to simultaneously hold belts in two UFC divisions when he defeated Eddie Alvarez in 2016, adding lightweight gold to the featherweight title he won from Jose Aldo in 2015.