White: McGregor understands Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson for full belt

Thursday, February 22, 2018

UFC president Dana White spoke recently with TMZ, and reiterated that Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson at UFC 223 on April 7 will be for the full UFC lightweight title, not the interim one. The current belt holder is, of course, Conor McGregor.

McGregor won the featherweight belt, never defended it, and saw it stripped. And he won the lightweight belt, and will see it stripped. That’s a shame; a belt is fully held until it has been defended successfully. Just ask Germaine de Randamie.

McGregor’s belt is going to be gone without a fight, again.

“I said in the last press conference that fight will be for the title. It’s not for the interim title, that fight will be for the title,” said White, as transcribed by Jesse Holland for MMA Mania. “Is he upset? No, Conor understands. Conor made a lot of money, he wants some time off, but the division has to go on and the business has to go on. I say it all the time, when you get that kind of money, Conor might never come back. It’s a lot of money.”

Curiously, White did not directly say McGregor would be stripped of his belt. One thing that is not likely to happen given the injury and delay record around Nurmagomedov and Ferguson is McGregor’s belt being stripped prior to the fight. Then the UFC could be left with no title holder, a worse mess than two.

Three times previously the fight has been made. Each fighter has pulled out with an injury, and then Nurmagomedov suffered liver issues while cutting weight and dropped out the day before UFC 209 in March of 2017. Hopefully, the fourth time is a charm.