From the look of things, Conor McGregor’s two title reigns in the UFC will both come to an end without him defending the belt.
UFC president Dana White has always been elusive when questioned about stripping McGregor of the lightweight title he won back in 2016 before focusing on a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather last year with no clear signs about when he’ll return to the Octagon in 2018.
Now it seems White is finally ready to at least confirm that he plans to strip McGregor of the belt before Tony Ferguson faces Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 on April 7 in Brooklyn, NY.
“Right,” White answered when asked by TMZ if McGregor would be stripped. “Is he upset? Conor understands. Conor made a lot of money. He wants some time off, but the division has to go on and the business has to go on.”
“It’s not for the interim title. That fight is for the title.” ~ Dana White on the UFC 223 main event.
With that said, White doubled down on his previous proclamation that Ferguson and Nurmagomedov would be battling for the undisputed title when they meet just over a month from now.
“I said in the last press conference, that fight will be for the title. It’s not for the interim title,” White added. “That fight is for the title.”
White has remained somewhat aloof when it came to actually declaring that he was stripping McGregor of his belt and that might have something to do with Ferguson and Nurmagomedov being scheduled on three previous occasions yet the fight has never actually taken place.
The two top ranked lightweights certainly appear to be on a collision course for the undisputed title at UFC 223, which means between now and then, McGregor will have to be stripped of his belt.
As far as McGregor’s future goes, White still can’t be sure what the 29-year old Irishman plans to do although in a perfect world he’d love to see him return to face either Ferguson or Nurmagomedov later this year.
Right now, however, that’s not a guarantee.
“I’d like to see Conor fight the winner,” White said. “It was August and then September [for his return]. I say it all the time, with that kind of money, Conor might never come back. It’s a lot of money.”
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