If Conor McGregor claims lightweight gold with a victory over Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 (live odds), his reign as a simultaneous two-division champion will likely be short lived.
During a Tuesday appearance on SportsCenter, UFC President Dana White said that McGregor will have to give up some of his championship hardware should he dethrone Alvarez at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12.
“So this fight’s coming up, and he wants to try to gain both belts,” White said. “He will give up one of the titles after that fight in New York.”
UFC 205 will mark McGregor’s third fight of 2016 without defending the featherweight title he won with a 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo last December. His previous two fights, at UFC 196 and UFC 202, came against Nate Diaz at 170 pounds. In the meantime, the promotion created an interim 145-pound strap, which Aldo won by defeating Frankie Edgar at UFC 200. However, it is not yet a given that McGregor will remain at 155 pounds and vacate the featherweight belt if he holds both titles.
“That’s a good question. That’s what we’ll figure out,” White said. “He’s got some stuff going on right now, some personal stuff that I’m sure he’ll announce when he’s ready. But this fight made sense.”
It briefly looked as though Alvarez vs. McGregor wouldn’t happen at all. Last week, White told “UFC Tonight” that the “Notorious” one wouldn’t be healthy enough to compete at UFC 205 and that the promotion was targeting Alvarez vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov for UFC 206.
“After the Nate Diaz fight he injured his foot. The doctor basically said there’s no real damage there, it’s an old injury, but you need to stay off your foot for a few weeks,” White said. “Conor and I were going back and forth about the foot. I told him, ‘You’re not a doctor,’ and he told me, ‘I know my body better than you do.’ I’ll give him that one and he wants to fight. It’s the reason we all love Conor McGregor.”
Despite the injury, there was some speculation that the Alvarez-Nurmagomedov bout was floated as a negotiation tactic. White claims that putting together the UFC 205 headliner wasn’t that difficult.
“It’s actually not that bad. He’s an intelligent guy,” White said. “The thing that I love and respect about Conor McGregor is that he wants to fight and he wants to fight everybody. He’s my kind of guy.”