UFC superstar Conor McGregor made a strange claim during his latest interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. During that talk, McGregor, 32, wildly declared that he was somehow still the UFC’s lightweight champion because of the melee following his loss to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in 2018.
“I am the champion. You know that the unified title was never crowned that time in October 2018. Khabib fled the cage and left me fighting with his family members…The post-fight ceremony never took place,” McGregor said.
You can watch McGregor make his weird claim below.
"Do you know that the unified title was never crowned? … Khabib fled the cage and left me fighting with his family members in the cage.”@TheNotoriousMMA says he is still lightweight champion because the post-fight ceremony at UFC 229 never took place. (via @arielhelwani) pic.twitter.com/nWBGPsZMPQ
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) January 17, 2021
What Makes McGregor’s Claim Wild?
Nurmagomedov submitted McGregor in the fourth round at UFC 229 in 2018.
A wild brawl between the two camps ensued inside and outside the Octagon after the fight was over, and that dustup led to both fighters being suspended.
McGregor is claiming that the post-fight shenanigans resulted in the ceremony awarding the title to never take place. Somehow this makes him still the UFC lightweight champion, even though he technically wasn’t even the UFC lightweight champion heading into UFC 229 that night in the first place.
Sure, McGregor had captured the UFC lightweight title at UFC 205 back in 2016 when he was the reigning featherweight champ to become the UFC’s first-ever “champ champ”.
But McGregor never defended either of those titles, and the fighter was later stripped by the UFC after he decided to step away from the sport to pursue a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Still, McGregor believes he’s still the UFC’s 155-pound champion today, and the Irishman plans to somehow prove his way of thinking against Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier at UFC 257 on January 23.
“So I still feel like I’m the champion here, and I will go in and prove that. I’ll prove that with my performances and time will show. The cream always rises to the top, and the world is about to see it,” McGregor said.
Only some of that makes sense, but McGregor’s true aim is probably to lure Nurmagomoedov into a rematch.
UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2
UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 takes place on January 23 in Abu Dhabi.
Despite McGregor’s bold proclamation about his status as a UFC titleholder, the main event fight at UFC 257 between the two stalwart lightweight contenders won’t be for any type of UFC gold.
Six years to prepare, one night to perform…
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) January 15, 2021
Poirier is ranked No. 2 at 155 pounds in the UFC’s official rankings. McGregor is ranked No. 4. The champion at 155 is still Nurmagomedov despite his retirement announcement last year. UFC president Dana White is hoping Nurmagomedov will come back for one more superfight.
Regardless, the winner of UFC 257 should have the inside track on fighting for the UFC lightweight championship sometime in 2021.
Whether it’s against Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight championship that McGregor claims the Russian doesn’t have, or for a vacant title against someone else, McGregor vs. Poirier is an incredibly important battle that will help decide the future of the division.
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