Although it’s been spoken about for a long time, only recently has the UFC acknowledged the facts. Conor McGregor has sat on the title for too long, and now the promotion is moving forward in his absence…
Having sat out of MMA action since November 2016, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor has again pushed the limits. With interim champion Tony Ferguson awaiting a unification, ‘The Notorious’ has cited contract negotiations as the reason for his extended absence.
Boxing Floyd Mayweather in the meantime was nothing more than a money move. This is no consolation to the lightweight division, who now also have Khabib Nurmagomedov active and winning again.
Battering and bloodying Edson Barboza at UFC 219, ‘The Eagle’ presented a question for the UFC that had to be answered. If McGregor was not able to defend the belt by March/April time, could the promotion serious book Tony vs. Khabib for the interim belt?
The answer is no.
Reports Begin Flooding Out
We already knew about UFC president Dana White’s deadline. As he has been hashing out proposals for McGregor’s return, the baldfather simply said the clock was ticking. If ‘The Notorious’ couldn’t beat the timer, then Khabib would get a shot at Tony, but for the undisputed belt.
It would appear that ultimatum will not be fulfiled by the Irishman, as numerous reports have started emerging globally. Read the details from Russian site Tass below. The sports news outlet reports about McGregor being officially stripped of the title this Saturday:
Defend or Vacate? Nope…
“The contract for the fight was signed,” the source said, noting that the fight will be held for a full title. The champion belt is owned by the Irishman Conor MacGregor, but he will lose the title, as he did not defend him for a long time. As UFC president Dana White stated, immediately after the resumption of the speeches, he will receive a title fight.
The UFC noted that they can not confirm this fight yet. According to TASS, officially it should be announced during the UFC tournament in Boston on January 20.”
Excuse the ropey translation, but if you read it in Khabib’s voice it makes more sense, as do Dana White’s comments in reflection:
Sooner or Later
“You do Khabib vs. Tony. We’re working on that fight now, and if and when Conor comes back, he would get the first crack at the title.”
“This is a game of time, do you know what I mean? Time is your enemy in this sport or any other sport. When you’re a professional athlete, time is your enemy. And we can’t go on forever and not give guys the opportunity.
“Tony has been around for a long time and has earned his dues. Khabib has earned his dues. And the list goes on and on and on. So Conor has done very well, he’s made a lot of money.”