On January 19, a press conference was held in Boston during UFC 220 event week introducing the main event fighters of UFC 223. UFC president Dana White announced that interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson will face Khabib Nurmagomedov on April 7 in Brooklyn for the “undisputed title.”
For that to be true, undisputed lightweight champion Conor McGregor would have to be stripped of the belt. But that hasn’t happened.
“It’s undisputed,” White said about the UFC 223 main event. “I said it would be. I said that the guy that wins this fight will be the champion.
“Did I say [Conor McGregor’s] been stripped of the title? Next question please.”
It was a bizarre scene in Boston, but former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez believes he knows what’s going on with the 155-pound title picture. He anticipates that the fight promotion will eventually strip McGregor, but is playing a waiting game.
“What’s going on is this fight (Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov) is 0 for 3. They’re not going to strip Conor of a belt and then have a vacant title for a fight that’s 0 for 3. They have not been able to make this fight. Every time they book it, they’re not able to make the fight. Either Khabib gets hurt or Tony gets hurt or someone gets hurt. I think what the UFC is thinking is, this is a theory, it’s an opinion on my part. If this fight is not going to happen, there’s a very unlikely chance that it’s going to happen, so they’re not going to strip the champion and have this fight fall through and not have a champion,” said Alvarez during an appearance on The MMA Hour.
“I think the day of weigh-ins, they’re going to strip (McGregor). It’s going to make real big news, and then they’re going to have a title fight. It’s also going to make big news. It’s going to make for a lot of publicity in one day. That’s my theory,” he said.
During the UFC 223 press conference in Boston, White didn’t provide an update on McGregor’s fighting future. He didn’t strip the champion, but insisted that the Ferguson and Nurmagomedov fight will be for the undisputed title.
“I have no update,” White said about McGregor’s future. “The winner of this fight will be the champion.