After the Floyd Mayweather boxing match, Conor McGregor planned a quick return to the octagon. However, with an interim champion in Tony Ferguson and an undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov, there is pressure on McGregor to defend his lightweight belt amid accusations that he is holding up the division.
After defending Conor’s lack of title defenses last week, UFC President Dana White established a timeline of when fans can expect Conor McGregor’s next fight. Dana White made it clear in an explosive interview that if McGregor does not commit to a March deadline to defend his belt, he will likely be stripped of the title.
In a new interview with Kevin Iole, White explains that “time is your enemy in this sport” and went on to detail the scenario for the top three lightweights (via Pundit Arena).
“As long as Conor is willing to fight by March, we could do Khabib versus Tony and then the winner fights Conor for the title. Or, if Conor wants to sit out until next fall, then we’d have to make Khabib versus Tony for the title, not the interim title.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov hinted at a quick turnaround after a dominant victory over Edson Barboza and plans to fight at least twice in 2018.
Conor McGregor reacted to Khabib’s victory at UFC 219 on Twitter, calling it “dog s**t.” The Irish superstar also eluded to the UFC not paying him enough money for his next fight. Dana White said that he has no problem paying Conor McGregor because he generates a lot of revenue.
Conor McGregor has stated on numerous occasions that he wants a partnership deal with the UFC; however, Dana White stated that he will have to buy a stake in the company.
Some analysts have criticized Tony Ferguson potentially fighting against Khabib for the interim title when the current champion is not injured and is capable of defending his belt.
Conor McGregor has stated that he would like to fight Khabib in Russia, and the prospect of a rematch with Max Holloway is also rumored to potentially happen down the line.
McGregor has also expressed interest in the trilogy fight with Nate Diaz, but this will be unlikely until he has defended the title.
The 29-year-old has expressed interest in returning to the UFC and will likely defend his title at UFC 222 in Mach.