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UFC planning to strip McGregor of title in favour of Ferguson-Khabib bout

Dana White says the Dubliner doesn’t want to return until September, in which case he’ll give up his belt.

UFC president Dana White and Conor McGregor, the reigning UFC lightweight champion.
UFC president Dana White and Conor McGregor, the reigning UFC lightweight champion.
Image: INPHO/Tom Hogan 

CONOR McGREGOR WILL be relieved of his lightweight title if he chooses not to return to the octagon until September.

That’s the warning that has been sent to the Dubliner by UFC president Dana White, who has insisted that the organisation will terminate McGregor’s reign as champion if he doesn’t end his self-imposed absence imminently.

McGregor hasn’t competed in mixed martial arts since winning the lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez in November 2016. According to White, the 29-year-old Irish star doesn’t intend to fight again until September, by which time he’ll have spent 22 months as champion of the 155-pound division despite not defending the title.

“Conor has said he’s thinking about coming back in September,” White told FOX Sports. “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.”

FcSCC54w Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. Source: PA Images

White added that the UFC are now in the process of arranging a bout between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight title, in the event that McGregor is stripped of the belt.

Ferguson defeated Kevin Lee in October to win the interim lightweight title, while Nurmagomedov looked impressive as he maintained his undefeated professional record with a dominant victory over Edson Barboza just over a fortnight ago.

The UFC president said: “You do Khabib versus Tony. We’re working on that fight now. If and when Conor comes back, he would get the first crack at the title.”

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Paul Dollery

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