White: If Conor Waits To Fight, I’ll Strip Him Of Title
“Conor has said he’s thinking about coming back in September. If he comes back in September, that’s almost two years…that can’t happen.” — @danawhite
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) January 15, 2018
Over the weekend, UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson made it known that he may be returning to the octagon sooner rather than later, and according to Dana White, the other 155 pound champion Conor McGregor, will not be involved.
Speaking on Sunday night’s UFC Fight Night St. Louis post-fight show, UFC President Dana White said McGregor does not have a definite timetable for return, and is considering sitting out until September. If McGregor does wait till September, White says the UFC would have to strip McGregor of the belt and book Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov for the real title.
“Conor has said he’s thinking about coming back in September,” White said.
“If he comes back in September, that’s almost two years – that can’t happen. It’s not fair to everybody else. Love Conor, respect Conor, love everything that he’s done for this company, everybody knows that, I say it all the time. The belt would have to move on.
“You do Khabib vs. Tony, we’re working on that fight now. If and when Conor comes back, he would get the first crack at the title.”
McGregor won the lightweight title on November 2016 at UFC 205, which was also the last fight he’s had in the octagon, taking 2017 off from MMA to box Floyd Mayweather Jr. in one of the biggest money making fights of all time.
The UFC originally scheduled Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov for the interim title at UFC 209, but Nurmagomedov was forced off the card due to a failed weight cut. Instead, Ferguson won the interim lightweight belt at UFC 216 with a third-round submission over Kevin Lee. Nurmagomedov bounced back from the UFC 209 failure to make quick work of Edson Barboza at UFC 219. Now fans are clamoring for the Ferguson-Nurmagomedov matchup that has thrice been denied them.
White did not confirm a date for the potential lightweight title clash but rumors have been circling online that the UFC is targeting UFC 223 in April.