Dana White: Conor McGregor Never an Option to Replace Tony Ferguson at UFC 223
An injury to Tony Ferguson forced him out of the UFC 223 main event but it turns out reigning lightweight champion Conor McGregor was never in consideration as a replacement opponent to face Khabib Nurmagomedov.
While it might seem almost fitting that McGregor would step into fight Nurmagomedov on short notice as he still holds onto the UFC lightweight title he won in 2016, UFC president Dana White says that the organization never even considered him as an option.
Instead, featherweight champion Max Holloway was offered and accepted a chance to face Nurmagomedov on six days notice to crown a new undisputed lightweight champion.
According to White, McGregor is too big an asset to ask him to fight on such short notice, especially considering the kind of fanfare that will undoubtedly surround his return bout after nearly two years away from the Octagon.
“I don’t think Conor McGregor could make the weight on six days notice. That’s a tough weight cut for him. And Conor isn’t exactly the guy I want to throw in as a late replacement fighter,” White explained when speaking to ESPN on Sunday. “He’s a guy I want to make a fight with, have the right amount of time to promote the fight, have the fight in the right place.
“No, I’m not interested in asking Conor to take the fight. I think that Conor could return in September and it could be against one of these guys.”
As far as McGregor’s lightweight championship, he will hold onto that belt for six more days until Holloway and Nurmagomedov actually step into the Octagon against each other and then by the end of that fight a new king at 155 pounds will be determined.
“As soon as these guys step in the ring and throw a punch, it’s on for the title,” White confirmed. “Whoever wins, wins the title and we’ll see what happens with Conor over the next several months.
“I know he had expressed some interest in fighting in September.”
It remains to be seen if McGregor will return by September but he’ll likely have all eyes on Saturday night’s main event between Holloway and Nurmagomedov to determine a new UFC lightweight champion.