If Conor McGregor decides to leave the featherweight division, his absence will only be temporary.
While there was some speculation that the newly-crowned 145-pound king would vacate the title if he moved to lightweight, McGregor promptly squashed that talked at the UFC 194 UFC 194 post-fight press conference.
“I tell you one thing that won’t be happening. If I go up to the lightweight division, there’s no way in hell I’m vacating my belt,” McGregor said. “That’s not happening. I’ll have one belt on one shoulder, and a belt on the other shoulder. I understand why previously they would have fighters do that, because many fighters don’t fight as frequently as I do. I’m busy. I stay active. I’m fresh.
“When I go up for that lightweight belt, I will still be a featherweight champion also. I will be a dual-weight champion. The belts will still be active, because I am active. I am as active as any of them. There’s no problem with that.”
McGregor captured featherweight gold in spectacular fashion on Saturday night, knocking out Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Next week, the Dublin native will be a keen observer as Rafael dos Anjos defends the lightweight championship against Donald Cerrone at UFC on Fox 17 in Orlando. He is also well aware of the work Frankie Edgar put in one night ago in stopping former foe Chad Mendes inside of a round at “The Ultimate Fighter 22” finale.
“I know the option is there for the 155-pound belt. I’ll sit and I’ll watch this. The options are building,” McGregor said. “You’ve got Frankie, who had a good win last night. That could be for the featherweight belt; maybe a Jose rematch or [the] 155-pound strap. I enjoy options. Options are a good thing in the fight game.”
Meanwhile, UFC President Dana White confirmed during an interview on Fox Sports 1 that McGregor would receive an immediate title shot should he elect to move up a division.
“I bring him straight in for a title shot,” White said. “The winner of that [lightweight title bout], if Conor McGregor is moving to 155, gets Conor McGregor.”
However, after a post-fight conversation with John Kavanagh, McGregor’s coach at SBG Ireland, White was also under the impression that such a move would be permanent.
“The funny thing is that John Kavanagh in the Octagon said [McGregor will] never make 145 again. He said, ‘I don’t want him making that weight again; it’s not good for him. But you never know with Conor,” White said. “Maybe they’ll go to 155. Maybe Conor decided Frankie did look good and he would like to fight him.”
A massive featherweight, McGregor looked drained during Friday’s weigh-ins. Still, the 27-year-old Irishman quickly pointed out that he has never had any issues on the scales prior to his fights. It’s why he believes a dual-title reign is within the realm of possibility.
“I giggle all the time because every time I step on that scale and step off the scale, everybody’s like, ‘It’s the worst I’ve ever seen him. He better rehydrate correctly; he’s in a hell of a lot of trouble.’ Don’t get me wrong. It’s a tough weight cut. But tell me one time I’ve missed it,”McGregor said. “Tell me one time I’ve not showed up the next day fresh. Everyone up there on that stage that makes weight is not in the freshest of states. This is the business.”
“I wasn’t considering leaving the featherweight division for good because I’m the unified world champion. This is my division. I say what I do now...We have some options; we have some decisions to make. Most certainly I’m looking to replicate what I did in my previous promotion: a two-weight world champion held consecutively. I said I would do it. And I will do it.”