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Dana White not against Conor McGregor fighting for 170 title: 'Conor is hard to deny these days'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

LAS VEGAS -- Conor McGregor wants to move up and fight for the welterweight title? Dana White won't stand in his way.

The UFC president said Thursday during the UFC 196 pre-fight press conference that he has no problem letting McGregor face 170-pound champion Robbie Lawler if that's what he so wishes.

"I'm open to whatever he's considering doing," White said at MGM Grand. "If he wants to fight at 170 and he wants to fight Robbie Lawler, Conor is tough to deny these days."

McGregor is the UFC's featherweight champion. Before Saturday when he fights Nate Diaz, all of his previous in the UFC had been at 145 pounds. He'll fight Diaz at 170 and Lawler, the champion of the weight class, could be next.

"That's there," McGregor said Wednesday at open workouts here. "I mean, why not? That's probably the leading option.

"I like Robbie. I won't say a bad word about Robbie. He fights with his heart. He's been around the game so, so long. But if we fought, I would beat Robbie. I'm too fast for him. The size difference is not anything. I've stood beside him. I've seen him."

McGregor (19-2) will first have to get by Diaz, who is a late fill-in for UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. It has been McGregor's wish to hold two different UFC belts in two separate weight classes at the same time, which no one has ever done before. If he had beaten dos Anjos, McGregor would have made history. But dos Anjos pulled out 11 days prior to the fight due to a broken foot.

Now, McGregor might bypass dos Anjos for the time being and try to win the welterweight title from Lawler, perhaps even at UFC 200 in July. That would be quite the leap in weight. McGregor said this week he has been waking up at 168 pounds every morning and having two breakfasts in order to get to the contracted weight of 170.

"Nobody has ever done this -- 145 pounds going to 170," White said. "And it's one of those things that when you talk about these guys and the money is in the bank and all the things are going on and they have all this opportunity, Conor really does step up and fight anybody, anywhere, any time. It's impressive, it's fun. And this is what makes you love the fight business."

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