Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White had a real opportunity to shed some light on the lightweight title picture earlier tonight (Fri., Jan. 19, 2018) at the UFC 25th Anniversary press conference (full replay here) in Boston.
While many expected to hear some news regarding Conor McGregor’s current status as lightweight champion, White had no update as to what will happen with the Irishman’s 155-pound title when interim champion Tony Ferguson meets top contender Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 in April. To make matters worse, White confirmed that Ferguson’s main event tilt with “The Eagle” will be for the undisputed title.
“I have no update (on McGregor),” White said. “The winner [of Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov] will be the champion. ... We’ll see what happens.
“It’s undisputed, I said it would be. I said that the guy who wins this fight will be the champion. ... You will see what happens.”
I know, it’s confusing. If Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov is for the undisputed lightweight title then how the hell is McGregor not stripped? It’s a puzzling predicament to say the least, especially since White is unwilling to nip it in the bud and just say “Notorious” is being removed from his throne.
“There’s no reason,” White said when asked why he can’t reveal if McGregor is being stripped. “Did I say he’s been stripped of the title? Next question.”
While White previously stated that McGregor will be stripped of his title if he doesn’t return by March, it seems like the promotion is reluctant to pull the trigger. Even McGregor’s coach is dumbfounded as to what UFC is going to do with the 155-pound title.
For what it’s worth, the promotion officially stripped McGregor of his featherweight belt back in 2016 during UFC Fight Night 101’s broadcast. If history repeats itself, “Notorious” may be officially stripped tomorrow (Sat., Jan. 20, 2018) during the pay-per-view (PPV) portion of UFC 220: Miocic vs. Ngannou.
Maybe that’s the “you’ll see what happens” riddle that White is hanging his hat on.
Stick with Mania for further updates on McGregor’s title drama.