Conor McGregor may be the most marketable star in MMA right now, but that doesn’t do anyone much good if he stays at home in Ireland and refuses to fight. For all the hype he gained for being the first “double champion” in UFC history (holding titles in two different weight classes at the same time), the fact is this: McGregor hasn’t found under the UFC banner since November 2016, and that’s a long time to hold up two different divisions.
The UFC already stripped him of the Featherweight belt that he won from Jose Aldo when he decided to take on Nate Diaz in a pair of big money fights. Then he won the Lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez, but hasn’t defended that in 14 months (and counting), choosing to focus on making an obscene amount of money by fighting Floyd Mayweather in a boxing ring in August 2017.
On the weekend, UFC president was asked about when McGregor might be returning to defend the Lightweight championship. White didn’t seem to have an answer, but insisted the championship belt would have to move on if McGregor keeps dragging his feet.
“Conor has said he’s thinking about coming back in September,” White said on FOX Sports after a UFC event in St. Louis on the weekend. “If he comes back in September, that’s almost two years. That can’t happen. It’s not fair to everybody else. I love Conor, respect Conor, love everything that he’s done for this company. Everybody knows that. I say it all the time. But the belt would have to move on.”
If they do strip McGregor of the Lightweight title, White knows the obvious title fight to make.
“You do Khabib versus Tony,” he said. “We’re working on that fight now and if and when Conor comes back, he would get the first crack at the title.”
News broke last week that the UFC have booked a stadium in Moscow, Russia for a currently unannounced event in September. Presumably they want Russian native Khabib Nurmagomedov to headline that card, preferably in a title fight against either McGregor or Ferguson.
Meanwhile, McGregor is busy posting about how rich he is on Instagram. So who knows what will happen in 2018.