Conor McGregor will return to the UFC’s 145-pound division and defend his title following UFC 202, according to UFC president Dana White. McGregor is scheduled to fight Nate Diaz this weekend in a rematch of their bout from UFC 196.
White claims no matter what happens this weekend, McGregor’s next fight will see him drop back down to the featherweight division to fight Jose Aldo. McGregor took the title from Aldo with a stunning knockout in December.
Here’s what White had to say:
“Win, lose or draw for Conor, he’s the 145 pound champion so he’s going to go back and defend his title — win, lose or draw.”
Aldo became the interim featherweight champion by beating Frankie Edgar at UFC 200.
There had been a ton of speculation as to where McGregor’s career would go after the rematch with Diaz. If he wins, he could have a case for another welterweight fight, or potentially a shot at lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. But White is making the right move by forcing the Irishman to defend his title. If he’s not actually in the division, what’s the point of him being champion.
At 5-foot-9, McGregor will be hard-pressed to continue to make 145 pounds, so it’s smart of White to make sure he gets him a rematch with Aldo before he’s forced to change divisions. If he beats Aldo, I could see a scenario where he tries to win the lightweight title (155 pounds) or — provided he wins this weekend — jumps back to 170 for a rubber match with Diaz.
There are a ton of options on the table for McGregor’s future, but first he has to defend his title against Aldo.