‘I don’t wait for anybody, I run my business’: Dana White says UFC could strip Conor McGregor of title
White sounds off on futures of his lightweight champion, Ronda Rousey, CM Punk and Brock Lesnar ahead of UFC 220
Conor McGregor could soon be stripped of the Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight title, according to UFC president Dana White.
The 29-year-old McGregor has not fought for UFC since he won the lightweight belt in November 2016. McGregor has not competed at all since August, when he lost to Floyd Mayweather Jnr in his boxing debut.
White announced Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov will fight for the interim lightweight title, the one Ferguson won in October, at UFC 223 in New York.
“We can’t tie up the title two years, no matter how much I love the kid,” White said ahead of UFC 220 in Boston. “We’ll let Tony Ferguson and Khabib fight for the title and then Conor obviously will be the first one to come back and get a crack at either one of them.
“I don’t know [if he’ll come back,” White added of McGregor. “I don’t wait for anybody. I run my business, I keep rolling and that’s it. The kid’s got US$100 million. Who knows, he might never fight again.
“I wouldn’t do that fight again [McGregor v Mayweather],” added White. “I would never work with Showtime again. I’d never work with that weasel [Showtime Sports executive Stephen Espinoza] again.
“If Floyd wants to fight in the octagon and get out of his Showtime deal, let’s do it. I think that’s the only way people would care this time. Do you know how many people want to see that guy take a shin to the face?”
Like McGregor, Rousey stood as the face of UFC for years but has also been out of the cage since 2016. The once-feared Rousey has not fought since December 2016 when she suffered the second of two straight defeats – the only ones of her career.
The 30-year-old has kept busy in entertainment and has met with WWE officials about a possible pro wrestling career.
White said Rousey is still under contract with UFC but that she will not fight again.
“I love that woman. We have an amazing relationship,” he said. “What she’s done for the sport and for this company, created millions of female fans around the world. Ronda can do whatever the hell she wants to do.”
Former WWE superstar Phil “CM Punk” Brooks will fight again in UFC, however, according to White.
Punk made headlines when he jumped to UFC in 2014, but his debut at UFC 203 in September 2016 was a short one, and he tapped out just 2:14 into the first round against welterweight Mickey Gall.
“I like that guy. He’s a good dude,” White said. “He wants one more. He wants to get another shot. I’m going to give it to him.”
White said he has no date or opponent in mind for Punk, “but I’m working on it.”
“He’s a completely different case than most normal human beings, so I’m going to give him another shot,” White said.
Brock Lesnar returned to MMA in July 2016 with a victory, but he is under contract to WWE as a professional wrestler and is the promotion’s Universal champion.
Lesnar beat Mark Hunt at UFC 200 in a unanimous decision that was changed to a no-contest after Lesnar failed a doping test.
He received a one-year suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission, but could return to MMA after completing the final months of the ban.
“I think he’ll give it one more run,” White said. “I just think Brock loves to fight.”