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Conor McGregor doesn't plan to vacate titles after UFC 205: ‘Why not defend them both?'

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The running narrative from the UFC is that Conor McGregor will be forced to vacate either his featherweight or lightweight title if he is able to defeat the organization's reigning 155-pound champion, Eddie Alvarez, on Nov. 12 in the main event of UFC 205.

But McGregor is an active fighter, one who has fought an average of every four months since he recovered from ACL surgery in mid-2014, and he doesn't see the point of ruining such a historic feat.

"Vacate? I don't know, we'll see about that," McGregor said on a Thursday conference call ahead of UFC 205. "Why not defend them both? I fight every week. I only fought last week. So, I can defend them both."

On the surface, McGregor's assertion flies in the face of past statements made by UFC president Dana White, who has insisted all along that McGregor will be forced to give up one of his titles with a win over Alvarez.

Still, White also insisted that McGregor would be forced to give up his UFC featherweight title in order to move up in weight and challenge Alvarez in the first place, and that didn't end up happening. So while McGregor continues to maintain that the UFC will have to "gather an army" to take one of his belts after UFC 205, he also admitted to being frustrated by people's insistence on looking so far ahead when such a historic event is standing right in front of them.

"I'm going to go out and put on a show and we'll go from there," McGregor said. "Everyone always looks ahead so much, talking about vacate the belt or let's talk Vegas. It's like, let's enjoy this moment right now, because it took so long to get here. So many hours went into getting the UFC into New York City and now here we are. Now here we are, a potential two-weight world champion. A superfight, champion versus champion, first time a champion has gone up. These are all historic moments.

"Everyone is talking about after. ‘We've got to take that belt off of him, we've got to get back to Vegas.' Let's just enjoy this historic moment for what it is. So that's what I'm doing, I'm looking to enjoy this whole experience and I'm very confident in my preparation, very confident in my opponent that I'm facing, so I'm looking to just enjoy this whole process."

McGregor, 28, is wrong when he claims to be the first UFC titleholder to go up in weight and challenge another champion -- B.J. Penn memorably put his lightweight reign on hold to challenge welterweight king Georges St-Pierre at UFC 94 -- but even in that case, the UFC was not willing to let Penn keep both titles in the event that he won. And at this point, considering what we've seen in recent months and the allowances given to McGregor, the same can't be definitively said about UFC 205.

Considered to be one of the biggest financial draws in UFC history, McGregor captured the UFC featherweight title in late-2015 with a stunning 13-second knockout over longtime champion Jose Aldo, then immediately shot up to welterweight for a pair of fights against Nate Diaz. The Diaz bouts only happened because McGregor's original foe, then-UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, withdrew from UFC 196 with a foot injury, derailing McGregor's first attempt to become a two-division UFC champion.

But now things have come full circle, and McGregor is once again readying to make his 155-pound UFC debut.

"I feel great at this weight," McGregor said. "I'm lean, a lot leaner. I'm still eating a hell of a lot of food. Obviously it's tougher to get to featherweight, but I think it's crazy the way they say I can't get to featherweight anymore, or all these crazy things, like I ain't the undisputed champion. Like I haven't gone in there and taken out the whole division, as early as last year. Like, December of last year, that was.

"It's not even been a year. What's that, eight months, 10 months, whatever? And then they're talking about stripping and vacating and this type of stuff. Hang on a minute. What did I just go and do there? Did I not just take out that division? Am I not that champion? So wherever I sign, I'm going to fight, and you best believe I'm going to show up and be prepared. At 145, I'm the world champion. I took out them out. I'm damn good at 145, and I'm even better at 155, so wherever."

With a chance to make history on a card that many believe will be among the highest-selling UFC pay-per-views of all-time, McGregor is finally nearing the goal that he set for himself when he entered the UFC just three years ago.

"It hasn't been done before," McGregor said. "It's never even been close to a reality in this game, in the UFC. And then to do it on such a monumental stage like this, of course this will be one of my shining moments."