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Dana White: ‘I love Conor McGregor, but he has got to give a belt back’

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MMA: UFC 196-Weigh Ins Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Even though Featherweight kingpin Conor McGregor overruled Dana White, claiming that it would take an army to take a belt off him if he defeats Eddie Alvarez next month to secure the Lightweight strap, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President recently assured fans — and fighters — that the Irishman would indeed be forced to cooperate.

“We’ll get one of those belts, I promise you we will get one of those belts,” White laughingly told Jason Whitlock on FOX Sports 1’s “Speak for Yourself” after watching the clip from UFC 205’s press conference.

White has stated this on a few separate occasions, but he has a proven track record of not keeping his word — especially when it comes to McGregor — so there is cause for concern. There have been three different recent instances -- specifically linked to McGregor -- in which White made promises that didn’t pan out. For example, White stated that Frankie Edgar would get a shot at the winner of McGregor versus Jose Also back at UFC 194 for the UFC Featherweight belt. That didn’t happen. White then said that McGregor would defend his 145-pound belt after his first fight with Nate Diaz. We all know what happened after that. Finally, he stated that Aldo would get his rematch with McGregor after his second fight with Nate Diaz. That also didn’t happen ... and it has turned into a disaster.

Nonetheless, White insists it’s different this time.

“You can’t tie up two divisions, you can’t do it,” he continued. “I’m giving him this opportunity to fight. Listen, Conor McGregor is a ‘do what he says’ kind of guy, you know? He has always stepped up, taken big fights — when a fight might not even make sense, he steps up and he does it. That’s why he’s so popular, that’s why people love him, and when he goes in he fights. That’s why I’m giving him this opportunity. I love him, but he’s got to give one of those belts back.”

Before he even surrenders a strap, McGregor has to first defeat Alvarez at Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., on Nov. 12, 2016. Perhaps that seems like a foregone conclusion right now, but Alvarez is motivated more than ever to ensure that McGregor can’t make history and that White doesn’t have to fulfill an empty promise.