UFC poster boy Conor McGregor has not entered the octagon since retaining his lightweight championship at UFC 205 in November 2016. McGregor has, of course, earned a fortune by facing Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring. The match against Mayweather saw McGregor take home a purse of at least $30 million despite losing the match. Few would begrudge McGregor the opportunity to set himself up for life, but his absence from the octagon is causing headaches for UFC boss Dana White.
McGregor’s absence from UFC competition has meant that the lightweight division has become static and it seems that Dana White is finally losing patience. McGregor had been expected to face Tony Ferguson in a title defense this spring, but according to Yahoo! Sports McGregor wants to delay his UFC return until at least August. This, they claim, means that Dana White has had a rethink about the UFC lightweight title picture.
According to the Daily Express White has become frustrated at McGregor’s absence from the UFC fight scene. MMA fans will recall that when McGregor won the lightweight championship back in 2016 he became the first UFC fighter to hold titles in two different weight classes. That distinction was short lived because White tripped McGregor of his featherweight championship because he had failed to defend it.
White stated that it would be unacceptable if McGregor doesn’t defend the lightweight championship until August or September. That would mean that McGregor had held the championship belt for nearly two years without defending it, and White states that that situation cannot be allowed to happen. White, however, may have a solution, and it comes in the shape of Russian UFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Apparently White was so impressed with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s victory over Edson Barboza at last weekends UFC 219, that he wants to give Nurmagomedov a title shot against interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson. That match would keep interest in the lightweight division alive, whilst allowing Conor McGregor to have a longer break than originally planned.
Has Conor McGregor Lost His Hunger?
It must be said that questions are being asked about McGregor’s continued absence from the UFC fight scene. Bleacher Report questions whether McGregor’s huge payday for the Mayweather fight has dulled his appetite for the UFC fight game. McGregor is living the high life, sporting $2,000 Gucci tracksuits and closing down the Funderland theme park near Dublin so that he could hold a private party.
Could it be the case that McGregor’s bank account is so healthy that he sees no need to enter the UFC octagon?