Conor McGregor last fought in The Octagon at UFC 205 back in November 2016. That night, the Dubliner stopped Eddie Alvarez in the second round and became the UFC Lightweight Champion and the first fighter in the history of the organisation to hold two world titles simultaneously.
And then he went away. 15 months have gone by and McGregor's only competitive action in the meantime was a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. Needless to say, the money men at the UFC have been getting restless about the absence of their biggest star.
Soon after the Alvarez fight, McGregor was stripped of his featherweight title, and today, UFC president Dana White confirmed he would also be now stripped of his lightweight title before UFC 223 on April 7th. The much awaited Tony Fergusons versus Khabib Nurmagomedov has been signed and White has confirmed it will be for the belt, meaning McGregor will lose his title before then.
I said in the last press conference that fight will be for the title. It's not for the interim title.
Conor understands. Listen, Conor made a lot of money, y'know he wants some time off but the business has to go on and the division has to go on.
Tonight, on Instagram, McGregor has responded to the decision, with a statement his fans are bound to be excited by.
I am fighting again. Period.
I am the best at this.
I put my name forward to step in at UFC 222 to face Frankie Edgar when Max Holloway pulled out, but I was told there wasn't enough time to generate the money that the UFC would need.
I was excited about bouncing in last minute and taking out the final featherweight, without all the rest of the stuff that comes with this game. Please respect the insane amount of work outside the fight game that I have put in.
On top of the fighting.
I am here.
It is on them to come and get me. Because I am here.
The Champ Champ™
He'll be back, but he'll be back without his titles. It will be fascinating to see if McGregor and the UFC can come to a deal on his return soon. It's bound to be one of their biggest nights in history when it eventually does happen.