Conor McGregor once held two UFC title belts over his head, but he might not have any strapped around his waist if his octagon dormancy continues.
Dana White made an appearance on FS1 following UFC Fight Night St. Louis on Sunday night and revealed McGregor’s intention to return to the UFC in September — nearly two years since his last fight at UFC 205, when he won the lightweight title against Eddie Alvarez at Madison Square Garden.
The UFC president said if McGregor waits that long, he would have to strip the 29-year-old of his belt.
“If he comes back in September, that’s almost two years — that can’t happen,” White said, via FOX Sports. “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.”
McGregor has held the entire lightweight division hostage, choosing to box Floyd Mayweather in August and remain inactive in the octagon rather than defend his belt and give other qualified contenders a shot at the title.
Those qualified contenders include interim champion Tony Ferguson, who has won 10 consecutive fights, and Khabib Nurmagomedov, who has never lost in his career and convincingly dominated Edson Barboza at UFC 219.
White said he’s currently planning to have Nurmagomedov and Ferguson fight for the undisputed belt if McGregor continues to take time off.
“You do Khabib vs. Tony,” White said. “We’re working on that fight now. If and when Conor comes back, he would get the first crack at the title.”