This could lead to another title stripping…

Although Conor McGregor’s absence from the octagon has been testing for the promotion, they seemed to have it all worked out before UFC 209. Scheduled to fight for the interim belt, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson would at least keep the division busy.

Unfortunately this fight would never happen, as ‘The Eagle’ pulled out just 24 hours prior to the event. Ferguson, now promoted to the number one spot, would surely face ‘The Notorious’ upon his return. If only it were that simple.

Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Hard Target

Predicting what Conor McGregor is going to do next has proved hard in the past, and near impossible now. Currently linked to a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, the Irish striker is again holding up his championship division, much to the dismay of the top contenders.

Different from when he was featherweight champion, McGregor is out of action right now also because of Dee Devlin’s pregnancy. Back in 2016, it was the duo of bouts with Nate Diaz and the lightweight title clash at UFC 205 that kept McGregor from defending the belt. Just under a year after winning the 145-pound belt, McGregor was stripped.

According to Gunnar Nelson, McGregor’s SBG team mate, it could be even longer before the lightweight boss defends his belt:


According to Gunni, during an interview with ESPN, McGregor returning to MMA in 2017 is not certain. Nelson says McGregor is set money-wise, and could even spend all of 2017 occupied elsewhere:

“It will depend on certain things,” said Nelson, when asked if McGregor would ever fight in the UFC again. “Money is not the only thing he cares about, at all. He does care about it a lot, but if a fight excites him and he thinks it’s a great challenge — if it’s making history and all that kind of stuff — he’ll do it.”

“He’s got a lot of money now that keeps him occupied,” Nelson said. “He can do a lot of stuff. I think he’d be all right for a year. He always has something cooking. Right now, it’s the Mayweather fight, and that seems like it’s going to happen. I think he’ll keep himself busy one way or another.”

Staying Busy

“He needs to keep himself busy in some way, because he’s a pretty hyper guy,” Nelson laughed. “He’s not just sitting around the house. If he wouldn’t have anything to do, he’d probably be up to no good. He’ll always figure something out. He needs excitement.”

Sadly for guys like Khabib and Ferguson, McGregor staying busy away from the UFC is going to be frustrating. As he recently said he’ll be looking for a title fight in August, maybe Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson for the interim belt will happen after all.

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