On Saturday, UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson teased on his Twitter account that he could be back soon. Now, we might know who he’ll be facing and though it sounds like it will be for the true lightweight title, it doesn’t sound like current 155-pound champion Conor McGregor will be involved.
Speaking on Sunday night’s FOX Sports 1 UFC Fight Night St. Louis post-fight show, UFC President Dana White said that McGregor does not have a definite timetable for return yet and is considering sitting out until September. If he does, White says the UFC would have to strip McGregor of the belt and are currently looking to book Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov for the real title.
“Conor has said he’s thinking about coming back in September,” White said. “If he comes back in September, that’s almost two years - that can’t happen. It’s not fair to everybody else. Love Conor, respect Conor, love everything that he’s done for this company, everybody knows that, I say it all the time. The belt would have to move on.
“You do Khabib vs. Tony, we’re working on that fight now. If and when Conor comes back, he would get the first crack at the title.”
McGregor won the lightweight title on November 2016 at UFC 205 but hasn’t competed in MMA since then, taking 2017 off from MMA to spend time with his family and to box Floyd Mayweather Jr. in one of the most lucrative fights of all time.
Meanwhile, the UFC originally scheduled Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov for the interim title at UFC 209 but Nurmagomedov was forced off the card due to a failed weight cut. Instead, Ferguson won the interim lightweight belt at UFC 216 with a third-round submission over Kevin Lee. Nurmagomedov rebounded by demolishing Edson Barboza at UFC 219 a few weeks ago, and since then, fans have been clamoring for the Ferguson-Nurmagomedov matchup that has thrice been denied them.
White did not confirm a date for the potential lightweight title clash but rumors have been circling online that the UFC is targeting UFC 223 in April.
Watch White’s interview on the FS1 post-fight show below.
"Conor has said he's thinking about coming back in September. If he comes back in September, that's almost two years...that can't happen." -- @danawhite— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) January 15, 2018
Dana speaks on #UFCSTL, Khabib, Tony and of course...Conor McGregor possibly being stripped. https://t.co/fTlT8sD2I3
And a pair of free fights.
New rankings report.
Everyone wants on the WWE train.
TMZ even getting Bas.
Luke Thomas. Immediate post-fight commentary from UFC St. Louis.
6th Round. Immediate post-fight reaction to UFC St. Louis.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Well... I broke my arm in the first! I was able to finish the fight but as you can see, had a hard recovering and throwing my right. I’ll be back better and stronger than ever! it’s all apart of the fight game. God had other plans for me. darn spinning back fist. pic.twitter.com/v5DhSv5YxD— Paige VanZant (@PaigeVanzantUFC) January 15, 2018
Usman’s statement about his post-fight comments.
Let me clear something up since some didn’t understand my post fight interview. What I meant was that I came into the fight at 30% health. I could’ve pulled out but I chose 2 stay the course & give @emilvalhalla his chance @ a top 10 guy. I fight anyone, anytime even at 30%.— KAMARU USMAN (@USMAN84kg) January 15, 2018
Even at 30% health, dealing with adversity, & a game opponent like Meek I was still able to dominate.— KAMARU USMAN (@USMAN84kg) January 15, 2018
I love it when they call me out!!! It means I’m right where I’m suppose to be . #blessed— Brian Ortega (@BrianTcity) January 15, 2018
Glad to hear it.
Of course we are bud. Osss https://t.co/eCJMTP0zDY— Thiago Pitbull Alves (@ThiagoAlvesATT) January 14, 2018
I would like to apologize to all my supporters and fans of MMA for not being able to put on the show you deserve. I've been ruled medically unable to compete and wont be able to defend on home soil. This card meant so much to me and I'm devastated for not being able to fight. All I can do is focus on getting healthy to come back better than ever. All the best to Yoel and Luke for their fight and ill be waiting...
Chiesa hinting at a fight.
BIG NEWS: My longtime friend the punching bag can finally take a well deserved rest I got an opponent for my upcoming fight, it's gonna be a big surprise Where and who do you think I'm going to fight? #Taisumov #Berkut #UFC #ReadyForEveryone pic.twitter.com/VlQ6AnE5U5— Mairbek Taisumov (@Taisumov155) January 14, 2018
Don’t tease us like this.
First @TWooodley was trying a super fight against @bisping, did not happen then he tried @GeorgesStPierre and then Diaz and now Connor. You feeling your time is up and you are getting desperate for a big fight #RDA #AndNew— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) January 13, 2018
That's true talking— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) January 13, 2018
There’s a difference between confidence and irrationality.
i would easily walk through the @BellatorMMA Heavyweight Grand Prix in one night.— Dillon Danis (@dillondanis) January 14, 2018
Awesome fight highlights from the weekend.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2014: Luke Rockhold recorded his first UFC win, knocking out Costa Philippou with a body kick at UFC Fight Night 35.
2017: B.J. Penn returned to the octagon to be destroyed by Yair Rodriguez at UFC Fight Night 103. On the undercard, Aleksei Oleinik landed the first ever ezekiel choke in the UFC when he tapped out Viktor Pesta.
I hope y’all had a good weekend and enjoyed the fights last night. Featherweight is a fun division these days and both Elkins and Stephens looked super impressive. Crazy to think that they might rematch for a title shot this year.
We’ve got another fight week on our hands and this one is an underwhelming PPV that has a couple of very strong fights in the top spots. Plus, Bellator is putting forth a great effort that could arguably determine the best welterweight on the planet.
For those in the United States, have a good MLK Day. For everyone else, take it easy and see y’all tomorrow.
Which fight are you most looking forward to this weekend?
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