McGregor title in doubt ahead of UFC lightweight bout

Dana White at today’s press conference in Boston

January 19, 2018) UFC 25th Anniversary Series press conference from Boston, where rumors abound that the UFC would strip the lightweight championship from Conor McGregor in order to have Tony Ferguson face Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed title in the main event of April's UFC 223 from Brooklyn.

(Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal) president Dana White, center, referees as tensions flare between UFC 209 co-main event stars, Khabib Nurmagomedov, left, and Tony Ferguson, during a staredown at The Monte Carlo hotel-casino's Palm Theater in Las Vegas on January 19, 2017.

UFC is making contingency plans for what will happen if lightweight champion Conor McGregor does not return to the sport until September. "It's not fair to everybody else", White said.

Regardless of what happens in the coming weeks, fans from all corners of the world are eager to see McGregor return to the octagon in 2018.

Getty Images Conor McGregor won his first major UFC title in 2015.

The declaration left MMA's top reporters in total confusion, with White later saying that for now, McGregor technically remained champion.

However, the path for McGregor's return is now as clear as day, if he returns the Irishman will face off against the victor of Ferguson and Nurmagomedov.

It would be hard to argue that these two fighters haven't earned the chance to fight for the "real" belt as they have been compiled stellar winning records in the 155lb division over the past few years. I am the champ. And this is defend or vacate.

"I'm defending MY belt, my belt I'm defending".

At the same time, White declined to provide an update on current lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who has held the official 155-pound title since November 2016 without a single defense.

White did say at some length that he had previously warned that McGregor couldn't continue to hold up the lightweight division by sitting out until the latter part of 2018, which would be almost two years since he won the title from Eddie Alvarez. In the press release, Ferguson was identified as the interim lightweight champion. "I said that the guy who wins this fight will be the champion". If you didn't watch them you're a casual, go back and watch them and you'll see why I have this belt.

White added: "Conor is saying "maybe I'll come back in August, maybe I'll come back in September", but that's nearly two years [since he won the title]".

"Did I say he [McGregor] has been stripped of the title?"

Kavanagh went on to say that he believes McGregor would take Nurmagomedov out in the second round, as he did with Eddie Alvarez. And considering the support McGregor brings from his Irish fanbase and what Nurmagomedov brings from Russian Federation, the noted head coach said the matchup would bring the combat-sports world to a halt.

Also on hand will be the main event players from UFC 222, Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar.

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