Dana White: Conor McGregor Is ‘Losing the Belt’ But Will ‘100-Percent’ Return This Year

UFC president Dana White has finally confirmed with absolute certainty that Conor McGregor will no longer be a champion after Saturday night but the good news is his return will happen before the end of the year.

Conor McGregor is coming back but he won’t be holding a title the next time he fights in the UFC.

That’s coming from UFC president Dana White, who had some good news and some bad news regarding McGregor’s future in the UFC while addressing the Irish superstar during the UFC 223 pre-fight press conference.

White has danced around McGregor being stripped of his lightweight title for months but he finally gave clarification when addressing the confusing situation that’s about to unfold on Saturday night.

According to White, the winner of the main event fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Max Holloway will be the undisputed lightweight champion, which means McGregor will no longer have the 155-pound title.

Of course, White also added that the UFC isn’t technically stripping Tony Ferguson of his interim belt yet he claimed that either Nurmagomedov or Holloway would be the undisputed champion following UFC 223.

“There’s no stripping. We’re not stripping Tony Ferguson. Tony Ferguson isn’t being stripped. The only one losing the belt here is Conor,” White said. “Conor’s losing the belt. These two are fighting for the belt. The interim belt that he had, these two were supposed to fight, doesn’t happen, one of these guys will be champion.

“Tony’s still the No. 1 contender.”

From the sound of things what White meant to say was that Ferguson is still the No. 1 contender but there is no more interim title with a new undisputed champion being crowned on Saturday night.

How that affects Ferguson when he’s ready to return to action later this year is still unknown considering McGregor would undoubtedly jump ahead of him if he wanted to face the winner of Nurmagomedov and Holloway.

It’s all a bit confusing but what White could say with absolute certainty — perhaps for the first time since last August — is that McGregor will return to the UFC before the end of 2018.

“Conor’s coming back this year 100-percent,” White stated. “He will fight this year. We’ll see how this thing plays out and we’ll go from there.”

White added that McGregor has no current plans to be in attendance for UFC 223 on Saturday night in Brooklyn and there’s still no definitive timeline for his return nor who his opponent will be once he comes back.

The only thing that is certain for now is that McGregor will no longer be lightweight champion after Saturday night but he will be back before the year is over.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.
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