Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight titleholder Conor McGregor is no longer the organization’s reigning featherweight champion after promotion president Dana White made good on his promise to strip “Notorious” of the 145-pound strap.
Coach John Kavanagh isn’t happy about it.
Working against McGregor is the fact that he won the featherweight gold from Jose Aldo at UFC 194 roughly one year ago and never made a single title defense, instead opting for a pair of welterweight “super fights” against Nate Diaz.
And let’s not forget about the bottleneck of hungry contenders at 145 pounds, including Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis. They’ll headline UFC 206 in Toronto for the interim strap — making Aldo the new (old?) champion — thanks to a recent fight card switcheroo.
“For me personally, I was very disappointed with how they went about doing it. It was a very messy set of circumstances which led to doing it. They lost [UFC 206] main event and then they haphazardly threw together a new main event. They felt they had to make this for a title in order for it to sell so they brought in another interim title that Jose Aldo already has and then bumped Jose Aldo up to the current undisputed champion, which just seems ridiculous to me. Conor has only been 11 months since he won that title. There have been many, many examples of fighters waiting 15 months, 18 months before defending it. He’s 11 months and they stripped him of it. I thought it was very shortsighted by the UFC how they went about doing it.”
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
While McGregor has always been an active fighter, he has yet to be an active champion. Aside from never defending his featherweight belt, “Notorious” took paternity leave just a few weeks after stopping Alvarez at UFC 205.
Which means the lightweight kingdom is without its king.
In his absence, Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov are expected to collide for the next crack at the 155-pound crown. Diaz, a natural lightweight, also lurks somewhere in the wings.
Still lots of pieces to this puzzle.