Conor McGregor’s reign as a two-division champion was short-lived, as The Notorious vacated his UFC featherweight title last week while keeping the lightweight belt he recently won from Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205.
Interim featherweight champion Jose Aldo was elevated to undisputed champion following the move, while Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis will battle for the interim title at UFC 206 on Dec. 10.
It was unclear what led to this chain of events, which left many mixed martial arts fans confused, so UFC president Dana White explained the situation Thursday in an interview with Yahoo! Sports.
“Look, I let Conor fight (Nate) Diaz and then I let him fight Diaz again,” White said. “Then there was the whole 155-pound thing I let him do. But at the end of the day, him doing that tied up the (featherweight) division for a year. There’s a logjam there and a lot of guys were (angry).
“This was my way to fix the logjam. I wanted Aldo to fight Holloway for the belt, but he needed more time. So I looked at it and I said, well, it makes sense to make Aldo the champion and then have Holloway and Pettis fight for the interim title, and when Jose’s ready, barring any crazy injuries, the winner can fight him.”
McGregor hasn’t fought in a featherweight bout since knocking out Aldo in 13 seconds for the featherweight title at UFC 194 last December. He moved up to welterweight for two fights against Diaz — losing the first one and winning the second — before then defeating Alvarez for the lightweight title.
McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, called the decision to strip him of the featherweight title and give it to Aldo last week “ridiculous” and “shortsighted,” leading many to believe McGregor vacated one of his belts against his will. White downplayed that being the case in Thursday’s interview.
“He’s misinformed,” White told Yahoo! Sports of Kavanagh’s comments. “Yeah, he doesn’t know all that has gone on, I guess. Do you think I just did this? This was Conor’s decision.”
It’ll be interesting to see McGregor’s next move, as he obtained a California boxing license on Wednesday, adding to rumors that he someday might fight Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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