Conor McGregor’s run as UFC featherweight champion, and effectively his run as the company’s first and only double title holder, is over.
The announcement that the 28-year-old McGregor would be dropping his featherweight title was made Saturday night on the UFC Fight Night 101 broadcast on FS1. According to Fox Sports, the move was made “out of necessity,” due to an injury suffered by light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier that took him out of his UFC 206 main event fight against Anthony Johnson.
The Fox report added that Jose Aldo, who had won the interim featherweight belt in July, will be named undisputed champion due to McGregor relinquishing the title. Fox cited sources close to the fiery Irishman, noting that the Conor McGregor team was “aware” that the UFC would force him to drop his title in an attempt to save UFC 206, given the fact that Cormier vs. Johnson wasn’t going to push forward.
The story of Conor McGregor becoming the UFC’s first fighter to hold two title belts simultaneously began at UFC 205 two weeks ago, where he defeated Eddie Alvarez to become light heavyweight champion. It was a quick and dominating performance for the “Notorious” one, as he knocked out Alvarez in two rounds and held up both his featherweight and lightweight belts to celebrate his victory.
Soon after, the Washington Post reported that McGregor would be going on hiatus until May, 2017, due to the pregnancy of his girlfriend, Dee Devlin, and the upcoming birth of their first child. This again fueled speculation that he would have to drop one of his belts at some point in the future, and UFC President Dana White had said as much prior to that, telling MMAFighting.com in late September that Conor would have to relinquish one title, should he win at UFC 205.
“He wants to try to gain both belts and he will give up one of the titles after that fight in New York.”
Meanwhile, Jose Aldo’s next featherweight championship opponent will be determined at UFC 206, with Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway facing off in the main event for the interim title, according to a report on Saturday from MMAFighting.com‘s Ariel Helwani.
Helwani wrote that McGregor “hasn’t necessarily agreed” to give up the featherweight title, but may be required to, should the UFC demand it.
“McGregor hasn’t necessarily agreed to give up his title, but legally the UFC is within its rights to strip him if they choose to.”
With the announcement, one has to wonder how Conor McGregor may react to his having to drop the UFC featherweight championship. It had been reported by several publications, including the Inquisitr, that he and his agent are now open to discussing potential appearances in the WWE, which may include a spot at WrestleMania 33 in April, 2017. He had also adamantly stated in the past that he is not willing to drop either one of his titles, as quoted by MMAFighting.com one week before his match versus Alvarez at UFC 205.
“Vacate? I don’t know, we’ll see about that. Why not defend them both? I fight every week. I only fought last week. So, I can defend them both.”
It’s also worth noting that Jose Aldo has reportedly been named undisputed featherweight champion, given that he and McGregor had engaged in furious wars of words in the past, and that McGregor had beaten him in just 13 seconds at UFC 194 to win the featherweight belt. Aldo defeated Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 in July to become the division’s interim champion, should McGregor be forced to drop his undisputed title.
Neither Conor McGregor, nor the UFC’s social media pages have issued statements on the matter as of this writing.
[Featured Image by Michael Reeves/Getty Images]