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Dublin: 0 °C Wednesday 23 January, 2019

Conor McGregor outlines where he goes from here after dethroning Jose Aldo

A featherweight title defence, a lightweight title shot… or both?

Conor McGregor at the UFC 194 post-event press conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Conor McGregor at the UFC 194 post-event press conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Image: The42

– Paul Dollery reports from Las Vegas

HE HAS OFFICIALLY taken over the UFC’s featherweight division, so what’s next on the agenda for Conor McGregor?

Speaking to the assembled press after his 13-second KO of Jose Aldo at UFC 194, McGregor said he now wants to assume control of the lightweight division too. However, that doesn’t mean he’s planning to depart the 145lbs weight-class.

McGregor didn’t rule out the possibility of a rematch with Aldo, or a meeting with number one contender Frankie Edgar, who knocked out Chad Mendes on Friday night.

But the 27-year-old seems particularly keen on a clash with the winner of next weekend’s lightweight title bout between champion Rafael Dos Anjos and challenger Donald Cerrone.

“I think Jose should go back, regroup, maybe get back in line for the number-one-contender spot and we’ll go from there,” said McGregor. “I know the option is there for the 155lbs [lightweight] belt. I’ll sit and I’ll watch this. The options are there now. The options are building.

“We’ve got Frankie [Edgar], who had a good win last night. That could be for the featherweight belt. Maybe a Jose rematch or the 155lbs strap. I enjoy options. Options are a good thing in the fight game.

“I wasn’t considering leaving the featherweight division for good because I’m the unified world champion. This is my division. I say what I do now. Maybe I feel there’s a couple of contenders in the mix. Let them maybe compete against each other while I go up and take the lightweight belt.

“Allow a contender to emerge [at featherweight], then go back down and take out that contender… and then go back up after a lightweight contender has emerged and take out that contender. That’s how my career path, I felt, was taking shape.

“Frankie had a good win yesterday so he could probably climb up as an early contender already, so we’ve some options. We have some decisions to make. But most certainly I’m looking to replicate what I achieved in my previous promotion; a two-weight world champion, held consecutively, and I will do it.”

UFC 194 Mixed Martial Arts Conor McGregor celebrates after defeating Jose Aldo at UFC 194. Source: John Locher

McGregor seems intent on becoming the first fighter to simultaneously hold belts in two different weight classes in the UFC — something he already achieved with Cage Warriors.

According to UFC president Dana White, there are two options available to McGregor: defend the featherweight belt against Frankie Edgar, or face the winner of Dos Anjos versus Cerrone. However, McGregor is adamant that he won’t relinquish the 145lbs belt.

He said: “I’ll tell you one thing that won’t be happening: if I go up to that lightweight division, there’s no way in hell that I’m vacating my belt. That’s not happening. There’ll be a belt on one shoulder and a belt on the other shoulder.

“I understand why previously they would have fighters do that, because many fighters don’t fight as frequently as I do. So when I take that lightweight belt, I will still be the featherweight champion also. I will be a dual-weight champion.

“There’s no going up and vacating. The belts will still be active because I am active. I’m as active as any of them so there’s no problem with that. There’s no vacating, that’s not happening.”

Here is the stunning KO that saw Conor McGregor crowned UFC champ in 13 sensational seconds

Conor McGregor defeats Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds at UFC 194

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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