Following the UFC 202 superfight between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz, UFC president Dana White laid down a pretty straightforward ultimatum for the Irish fighter regarding his featherweight championship belt. “Conor has to defend his title or make a decision to give it up,” he said on SportsCenter. “If I was Conor, I would defend my title.”
The UFC had been pushing for Conor to accept a fight against interim featherweight champ Jose Aldo since last week, always with the implicit threat of stripping McGregor hanging in the air. But McGregor seemed to call White’s bluff at the post-fight press conference, scoffing at the idea.
“If they want to do that and want to give my belt to the guy I KO’d in 13 seconds and bury that division on the prelims or the (UFC) Fight Pass stuff, because that’s what they’re going to do, I mean, we’ll see,” he said. “How can they do that?”
Now White is still trying to get his biggest star to fall in line, but is backing away from using the S-word. “He’s not going to get stripped,” he told NBC Sports Radio. “He’s going to make a decision. He knows the Nate Diaz fight isn’t the fight to make right now.”
That sounds suspiciously like he’s still planning on taking the belt from McGregor if he refuses to defend it. It will just be “Conor’s decision” if the UFC has to. Why do I get the feeling this is headed towards another ridiculous battle of the wills that will accomplish nothing but the delaying of McGregor’s next fight?