UFC President Dana White has strong confidence that Conor McGregor’s next fight will be in the Octagon and not in the boxing ring. The UFC lightweight champion has been linked to several boxing legends, including Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Oscar De La Hoya, but he already promised to defend his title after the MayMac superfight.
“The Notorious” was supposed to fight again in the Octagon before the year ends, but the UFC decided to give him a suspension after being involved in a Bellator incident. It has already been more than one year since Conor McGregor won the lightweight title. Several contenders have been patiently waiting for their opportunity to face him, including interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
While McGregor’s UFC return remains unknown, both Ferguson and Nurmagomedov are urging him to vacate the title. In an interview with ESPN, UFC President Dana White defended Conor McGregor from those people who want him stripped of the lightweight belt.
“For people to suggest that, you’re just a Conor hater,” White told ESPN. “Because if you look at how everything played out, Conor has fought everybody. When he won the 155-pound belt, he dropped the 145-pound belt, which we made him do. He tried not to do it, but he contractually had to let go of the 145-pound belt. He became the 155-pound champion, and his next fight was against Floyd Mayweather. He has to defend the title now. So, how has he never defended the title?”
According to MMAjunkie, White is hoping Conor McGregor will make his UFC return in the summer of 2018. However, he’s yet to make an official negotiation with McGregor’s camp, admitting that most of their recent conversations were not about fighting. While solving what White called “Conor mess,” the UFC president said that the upcoming UFC 219 fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Edson Barboza will start to clear the blockage in the lightweight division. The UFC 219 winner could end up fighting interim UFC lightweight champion Tony Ferguson for the opportunity to fight Conor McGregor.
Several MMA fighters from other divisions have also expressed their interest in fighting “The Notorious.” These include Nate Diaz, UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, and the most recent former UFC middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre. Per ESPN, Dana White broke his silence about the potential GSP vs McGregor bout, saying the fight will never happen. If both UFC stars return, St-Pierre will face either Woodley or Robert Whittaker while McGregor will be defending his title for the first time.
White believes money won’t be a big factor in McGregor’s UFC return. However, he’s yet to give a proper response whether the UFC is willing to give the UFC lightweight champion a share in the company. Still, no matter who will be McGregor’s next opponent, it will surely be another blockbuster fight.