Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor Sets Record For Most Days Passed Without a Title Defense… 

Conor McGregor has broken yet another UFC record. The divisive Irishman has not appeared in the octagon since 2016 when he took the lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez. That made him the first dual champion in UFC history, an achievement that practically guarantees him Hall of Fame status in the future.

That was fifteen months ago. He held his two titles for about two weeks but then the UFC had enough of the narrative. He was abruptly stripped of his featherweight title after failing to show any desire to defend it. McGregor was left as just the lightweight champion.

2017 has come and gone. We’ve seen McGregor fight once, when he crossed codes to face Floyd Mayweather in a mega-million super-fight in Las Vegas, selling over four million pay-per-views in the process. He really can’t be blamed for making the Mayweather fight his focus, but in the process, he has set a new and dubious record.

Conor McGregor fights Eddie Alvarez for the UFC lightweight title. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger, USA TODAY Sports.

No Defense

It has been so long since McGregor fought in an MMA octagon that he has now set a new record for most consecutive days without defending his title. As of Tuesday 20 February 2017, he has gone 465 days without defending his lightweight title.

To make matters worse, he went 350 days without defending his featherweight title. 815 days in total without a title defense. When those figures are presented, it’s really quite remarkable that he has not been stripped of his title.

Floyd Mayweather lands a punch on Conor McGregor. Mandatory Credit: Martin Rogers, USA TODAY Sports.

Special Treatment

What’s more is that he has no real excuse for not defending his title. Usually, when a champion goes for a significant period without fighting a challenger, it is because they are carrying a long-term injury. The UFC hasn’t even booked McGregor for a fight in this period.

Anthony Pettis, Frank Mir, Cain Velasquez and Matt Serra round off the top five longest times between title defenses. All of them had injuries that prevented them from fighting, while Pettis was also coaching on the Ultimate Fighter.

In comparison, McGregor completely left the sport for over a year. His failure to defend his featherweight title was the sixth longest time without a title defense. When you consider Mir was stripped after a motorcycle accident, it’s no wonder that some fighters complain about the “Notorious” getting special treatment from the UFC.

UFC President Dana White holds back Conor McGregor. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports.

What Next?

Let’s be real though. It isn’t McGregor’s fault. As well as a being an excellent fighter, he’s a shrewd businessman. Holding a UFC belt helps him to sell his image. He definitely can’t be blamed for wanting to bank $100 million in one night against Mayweather either. Some fighters make less than $5000 dollars on UFC prelim cards.

No, it’s the responsibility of the organization to make a change. It looks like that will happen after we get a result at UFC 223 when Khabib Nurmagamedov takes on Tony Ferguson in New York for the lightweight title. McGregor will hold the belt until then, in case one of Khabib or Ferguson gets an injury and has to withdraw.

UFC President Dana White has said that McGregor can’t hold up the division any longer, but that when he comes back he’ll walk straight back into a title fight if he wants it. It remains to be seen if that will happen. McGregor is back in training and has been linked to a return later this year. As it stands, his new record will keep on increasing until April 7.

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