The confusing and nebulous situation atop the UFC lightweight division continues to frustrate contenders who, at this point, have no idea what they’re fighting for in the octagon.
Last week at the UFC 223 news conference in Boston, UFC president Dana White announced UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov would fight for the undisputed title belt, but wouldn’t say whether current champion Conor McGregor would be stripped of his belt despite being inactive in the octagon since November of 2016.
This has resulted in an unprecedented situation where two contenders will be fighting for an undisputed championship belt while there is already a sitting champion. Ferguson made an appearance on “The MMA Hour” on Monday and expressed his dissatisfaction with the murky and ambiguous situation.
“Yeah, it bothers me. It bothers the (expletive) out of me, dude,” Ferguson said, as transcribed by MMAFighting.com. “Straight up. I’m the (expletive) champ and we don’t know if we’re fighting for the real belt or not. What the (expletive) is that? Dana White is telling us one thing on one (side) of the curtain and on the other side he’s saying, ‘No, Conor McGregor is the champion. Go and do your homework.’ And I love Dana, man, but I’m like, ‘What the (expletive), dude? Am I not the champ or am I the champ? Do you want to hype me up or do you not want to hype me up for this fight?'”
McGregor hasn’t defended his belt since winning it at UFC 205. His ventures into the boxing ring and other personal businesses during his hiatus continue to keep the entire 155-pound division in limbo.
The promotion has done little since the news conference to clarify the situation and one would think they probably will continue to be mum on the subject because of how important McGregor is to the UFC.