Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Conor McGregor Claims UFC Wanted to Strip Him of Featherweight Title Before UFC 205

Things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows with Conor McGregor and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

When McGregor captured the featherweight championship from Jose Aldo back at UFC 194, he already had his sights set on the lightweight title. “Notorious” was originally set to face Rafael dos Anjos for the gold, but the 155-pound champion suffered an injury.

As a result, McGregor began a new feud with Nate Diaz that helped his stock soar even higher than it was. Diaz submitted McGregor in their first encounter at UFC 196 in the welterweight division. Rather than go back down to defend his title, McGregor insisted that he have a rematch with Diaz at 170 pounds.

McGregor got his wish and defeated Diaz by majority decision at UFC 202. In the middle of all this, Eddie Alvarez won the lightweight title from dos Anjos. McGregor would go on to become a two-division champion after knocking out Alvarez at UFC 205.

The UFC claimed McGregor decided to relinquish his featherweight title, as he had yet to defend it despite capturing it one year prior. During his pay-per-view interview in Manchester (via MMAFighting.com), he said the UFC had been trying to strip him of the 145-pound gold for months:

“Before I even got the belt, they wanted to strip me. That’s what I’m saying, before I even won the belt, it was like, ‘you’ve got to give up this one.’ It’s like, just let me go and get the thing first. Let me go make the history. Let me go do what’s never been done before. And there seemed to be a problem with that, for whatever reason. I don’t know what the problem was, but again, a lack of communication.”

Aldo, who had defeated Frankie Edgar for the interim title, was officially named the champion. Max Holloway would go on to defeat Anthony Pettis for the interim strap. McGregor said he wouldn’t have minded fighting either man in March if he was asked to do so.

“All they had to do was ask. If they had actually came to me and said, ‘Conor, I know you’re prepared to have a baby, I know you’re chilling. If you want to fight for this featherweight belt in March,’ just a nice time, I would’ve went in and would’ve slapped Holloway or this guy he’s fighting, or Aldo, or whoever they wanted. No problem. All they had to do was ask. Instead, they created an interim belt. They gave back the unified belt to a guy I KO’d in 13 seconds. A guy I dominated is now the interim title (holder).”

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