Conor McGregor‘s lightweight title reign may be over very soon.
On Sunday night, UFC president Dana White revealed that McGregor is now contemplating an even longer layoff with his next fight not being booked until at least September.
If that comes to pass, White says the UFC would “absolutely” have to strip McGregor of his lightweight title that he won in November 2016 and still hasn’t defended.
“Conor has said he’s thinking about coming back in September. If he comes back in September, that’s almost two years. That can’t happen,” White said. “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.”
"Conor has said he's thinking about coming back in September. If he comes back in September, that's almost two years…that can't happen." — @danawhite
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) January 15, 2018
McGregor has been relatively quite about his return to the Octagon outside of stating several times that he’ll be happy to fight once the UFC offers him what he considers as fair compensation. McGregor has been locked in negotiations with the UFC on a new deal for quite some time, while also hinting at demands that could include co-promotion or some sort of equity in the company.
As far as what happens with the lightweight division right now, White said the UFC is already working on a fight between interim champion Tony Ferguson and undefeated Russian wrecking machine Khabib Nurmagomedov in the near future.
“You do Khabib versus Tony,” White said. “We’re working on that fight now and, if and when Conor comes back, he would get the first crack at the title.”
There have been rumors that Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov could headline UFC 223 on April 7 in Brooklyn, N.Y., but there’s no confirmation at this time if that’s the date and location the promotion is targeting for that fight.
Either way, it certainly appears that McGregor’s time as lightweight champion may be limited if he doesn’t book his next fight in the UFC sooner rather than later.