While Conor McGregor has embarked on a series of adventures well above his regular weight class — specifically two memorable (and lucrative) fights against Nate Diaz — you could almost be forgiven for forgetting that he’s still the champion at 145 pounds.
It’s kind of a complicated situation, but here’s a quick run down. McGregor was supposed to fight Jose Aldo for the feather championship last summer. Aldo got hurt, so McGregor fought Chad Mendes for the interim title. Then Aldo and McGregor did square off in December 2015, a fight that lasted 13 seconds and unified the two titles around McGregor’s waist. But when McGregor moved up to fight Nate Diaz at 170 pounds, the UFC left Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar have another interim championship fight at 145 pounds, with Aldo won.
That leaves us in a familiar spot, with McGregor and Aldo holding championship belts in the same weight class. But of course, there can only be one. UFC president Dana White said that McGregor would be forced to go back down to 145 pounds to defend the belt, but the Irish champ doesn’t seem to keen a rematch with Aldo. White had previously threatened to strip McGregor of the belt if he won’t defend it, but backed away from those comments on a recent appearance with NBC Sports Radio.
“He’s not going to get stripped,” White said. “He’s going to make a decision. He knows the Nate Diaz fight isn’t the fight to make right now.”
The McGregor-Diaz rematch was a five round war and easily one of the best fights of the year, if not UFC history. Fans were begging for a third and final rubber match as soon as McGregor was announced as the winner. The trilogy fight would certainly attract a huge number of pay-per-view buys, but White can’t let McGregor hold up an entire division.
Meanwhile McGregor seems unconcerned. After his victory at UFC 202, he scoffed at the mere mention of the UFC taking away his gold.
“If they want to do that and want to give my belt to the guy I KO’d in 13 seconds and bury that division on the prelims or the (UFC) Fight Pass stuff, because that’s what they’re going to do, I mean, we’ll see,” he said. “How can they do that?”