Conor McGregor is the biggest pay per view draw in the UFC, with lofty goals to match. Two fighters have won title belts in two different weight divisions – BJ Penn and Randy Couture. McGregor wants to do one better – he wants to hold two belts at the same time.
However, if you are the champion, you have to defend your belt. It is not a deal, like the lottery, where when you win it, you get to keep it and do whatever you want with it.
McGregor defeated Jose Aldo via in just 13 seconds at UFC 194 on December 12, 2015. Afterwards, he exclaimed famously that “timing beats speed, precision beats power.”
In keeping with his goals, the next fight was a title shot at then UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos on March 5. Unfortunately, RDA broke his foot and dropped out on February 23. Fortunately the UFC reached out to Nate Diaz, who was at that moment doing tequila shots, and a fight was agreed upon, at welterweight.
Then McGregor got tapped out in the second. A rematch was made and both fighters made many, many millions.
But now it is time for Conor McGregor to make a decision. UFC president Dana White appeared recently on Under Center with Mark Malone on NBC Sports Radio, and said he was not going to strip McGregor of the belts, but said the champion has choices.
“He has to either defend his title or give it up and decide what he wants to do next. We’ll get that figured out with him.”
White said McGregor has multiple options, but a trilogy fight with Diaz is not one of them. Further, White explained that if McGregor does not want to fight interim champion Jose Aldo, then the Irishman should voluntarily surrender his belt.
McGregor struggled hugely to make 145, and looked emaciated at weigh ins. The sport is moving away from the culture of extreme weight cutting that has long suffered from. McGregor tried fighting at 170, twice, and it does not appear to be the division that brings out his best.
There is a magic middle at lightweight.
McGregor vs. lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 on November 12, 2016 at Madison Square, in the league’s triumphant return to New York would make sense, as would a fight at the massive year-end card on Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.