Conor McGregor was forced to “relinquish” his UFC featherweight championship belt late last year, but in his mind he remains the undisputed champion of the 145-pound division.
The subject was broached during a conference call on Wednesday when the Irishman was asked about a potential rematch with Floyd Mayweather in the Octagon following their 12-round boxing match on Aug. 26.
“As far as what he [Mayweather] said on the World Tour, he said he would step in the Octagon….if he would do that he would have my respect,” McGregor said. “Anyone who is willing to step into a game like that where the limitations are so short deserves respect. That’s at all levels.
“I also have multiple world titles to contend in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and we’ll see. Maybe he can come over and after he gets his ass whipped, he can challenge for my lightweight belt.”
McGregor captured the featherweight crown in December 2015 with a 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo at UFC 194. He did not defend the belt at all in 2016, however, as he twice fought Nate Diaz in 170-pound contests before taking the lightweight strap from Eddie Alvarez a with a second-round stoppage at UFC 205 last November.
As a result of that inactivity at 145 pounds, McGregor was forced to give up his title, which made the UFC 206 headliner between Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis for the interim featherweight championship, while Aldo was named the division’s undisputed king. Holloway would claim the interim throne with a win over Pettis and then took the undisputed title with a third-round stoppage of Aldo at UFC 212 this June.
When McGregor was asked to clarify his “multiple world titles to defend” comment on the call, he didn’t back down. In addition to besting Aldo, “The Notorious” one also earned a three-round verdict over Holloway in August 2013 despite injuring his knee during the bout.
“How can I not consider myself the UFC featherweight champion and the UFC lightweight world champion when the current UFC featherweight champion is Max Holloway, a man that I dismantled and beat and the former was Jose Aldo?” McGregor said. “I still reign supreme over that division. Then also the 155-pound division there’s talks of an interim belt. …It is what it is. Everyone knows, I am the multiple weight world champion of the UFC. I look forward to coming back and continuing where I left off.”