Many have argued in the last year or so that Conor McGregor calls the shots, when it comes to the UFC, but it looks like the promotion and Dana White are standing firm on a deadline for his Octagon return.
McGregor has yet to compete for the UFC since November, 2016, when he took out Eddie Alvarez to become lightweight champ. Since his loss to undefeated boxing star, Floyd Mayweather in August, the subject of when McGregor will return to the UFC has consistently made headlines.
Well, recently Whit said that McGregor needs to defend the 155 title before fall, otherwise he”ll be stripped of the belt. If you rolled your eyes when you read that, well, during the post-fight show for UFC FN 124 last night, on FS 1, White had this to say about McGregor’s return (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“Conor has said he’s thinking about coming back in September,” White said. “If he comes back in September, that’s almost two years – that can’t happen. It’s not fair to everybody else. Love Conor, respect Conor, love everything that he’s done for this company, everybody knows that, I say it all the time. 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.”
There’s a couple of things to unpack here. One, it shouldn’t come as too big of a shocker, that White is standing by the deadline they made before. Sure, McGregor is the game’s biggest draw, and obviously the UFC has made moves for him, that they haven’t done before for other fighters.
But, there’s no question the promotion would come under some serious fire, if they let McGregor go nearly two years without defending the belt. It would be one think if he was hurt, but the Irish star is not.
Two, one would think that McGregor and his team would be aware of this. So, if they are really looking at September for his return, could this signal that McGregor doesn’t really care if he’s stripped of the title? And if so, what could this mean, in terms of what fight he’s looking at next? Or, do they simply think the UFC is bluffing?