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September! Conor McGregor’s UFC return delayed (again), Dana White working on Ferguson-Nurmagomedov

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UFC 189 World Championship Fan Event - Dublin Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

It now seems more like a matter of when, not if Conor McGregor will be stripped of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight title.

That’s because “Notorious” continues to delay his Octagon return. After loosely committing to a summer title fight — which prompted a March deadline to defend or vacate — McGregor looks to have found more important things to do.

Like this, perhaps.

“If (McGregor) comes back in September, that’s almost two years (since his last MMA fight). That can’t happen. It’s not fair to everybody else,” White told reporters at UFC St. Louis (via MMA Junkie).

I guess this was a false alarm.

McGregor has not competed since his technical knockout win over Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in late 2016, though he did see action last August in a boxing super fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas.

“Love Conor, respect Conor, love everything that he’s done for this company,” White continued. “Everybody knows that. I say it all the time. (But) the belt would have to move on. You do Khabib vs. Tony; we’re working on that fight now. If and when Conor comes back, he would get the first crack at the title.”

While McGregor bargains for UFC equity, interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson is expected to collide with top contender Khabib Nurmagomedov, with the winner claiming the vacated crown.

Better late than never.