White: McGregor is Pound-for-Pound Best
Conor McGregor’s relationship with the UFC has remained as oft-discussed as his fighting. Though rumors of rifts still linger, White said that his relationship with McGregor remains strong. The UFC President even offered the sport’s biggest star the highest bit of praise, saying he is the pound-for-pound top fighter.
Speaking on The Michael Kay Show, White talked about McGregor’s success in three weight divisions as proof that he should be ranked as the pound-for-pound top fighter.
"When you talk about the pound-for-pound, they don’t have Conor McGregor as the pound-for-pound – the media does the ratings – when you talk about what pound-for-pound really means, how is it not Conor McGregor?” White said. “The guy was the  pound champion,  pound champion, and beat a guy at 170 [pounds]. That’s what pound-for-pound really means."
McGregor rose through the ranks in the featherweight division before knocking out champion Jose Aldo last December. He then took on Nate Diaz twice in 2016, both fights taking place at welterweight. After falling by submission in March, McGregor avenged the loss by winning a majority decision over Diaz in August. McGregor capped off 2016 by knocking out lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and becoming a two-division champion.
While there are a number of potential opponents for McGregor to face in the coming years, settling the trilogy with Diaz is something that many fans have been clamoring for. White, however, doesn’t want to see it.
"The problem with the rubber match is Diaz is a 170 pounder. He’s a massive guy. Conor is a very talented guy, he’s very, very good. Every time he goes out there he looks better… [But] we should have never done it in the first place. That’s what weight classes are for. They wanted to do it, we did it. They wanted to do it again, we did it again. They’re 1-1.”
The UFC 202 rematch between McGregor and Diaz was a five-round war, with both fighters sustaining damage over the course of twenty-five minutes. White looks back at past wars in both boxing and MMA, and says that taking on too many of those battles can destroy a fighter.
"There’s only so many of those wars you can be in in your career. It takes a lot out of you. Some guys go into wars like that and they’re never the same after it. Look at Meldrick Taylor when he fought Julio Cesar Chavez. He was never the same after that fight. We’ve had those type of fights too. I believe that Rory MacDonald was never the same after the Robbie Lawler fight. That fight ruined him. I don’t want to do that to someone special like Conor McGregor. It’s just not right."