Last December, Ireland’s Conor McGregor won the UFC featherweight title by knocking out the seemingly unbeatable Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds. Instead of turning around and defending his newly won title, however, McGregor then set his sights on a lightweight title shot opposite then champion Rafael Dos Anjos.
As we now know, McGregor’s lightweight goals would not unfold as he planned. When Dos Anjos pulled out of their planned bout with a foot injury, the Irishman would be forced to shift his focus to a hastily-arranged welterweight bout with Nate Diaz – a fight he would lose by second round submission. This shocking loss was followed by some fairly pungent dirty-laundry-airing between McGregor and the UFC, and ultimately, by a rematch between McGregor and Diaz, in which McGregor would even the score by capturing a hard-fought majority decision win.
With his score with Diaz evened, McGregor has now reset his sights on the lightweight title, which was recently wrested from the waist of Dos Anjos by former Bellator lightweight king Eddie Alvarez. After weeks of rumors and excited whispers, the Irishman and the American lightweight champion are officially booked for a main event showdown at UFC 205, which will go down inside New York City’s Madison Square Garden on November 12.
This bout immediately stands out as a historically important one, as it marks McGregor’s opportunity to become the first fighter to hold two UFC belts at the same time. Both Randy Couture and BJ Penn were able to win titles in two UFC divisions, but McGregor would be the first to win a title in a second division while already still holding the title in another.
As it turns out, however, McGregor’s history-making reign as a two-division king will be very short. In a recent interview on ESPN’s SportsCenter, UFC President Dana White explained that, should McGregor win the lightweight title at UFC 205, he’ll then be forced to vacate either that newly won belt, or the featherweight belt he stole from Jose Aldo last December.
“So this fight’s coming up and he wants to try to gain both belts,” White explained. “He will give up one of the titles after that fight in New York.”
Given the difficulty McGregor has in cutting down to the featherweight division’s 145-lb. limit, it seems far more likely that he would vacate that division’s title than the lightweight title. In his interview on SportsCenter, however, White said he’s not sure which title McGregor would give up.
“That’s a good question,” White said when asked which belt he believed McGregor will vacate if he wins the title from Alvarez at UFC 205. “That’s what we’ll figure out.”
Of course, the whole question of which belt McGregor would vacate becomes pointless if he loses to Alvarez in New York City. If he does come up short in his attempt to make MMA history, he’ll likely then return to the featherweight division to unify his undisputed title with the interim title that is currently being held by Aldo.
Do you think McGregor will win a second title at UFC 205? If he does, which belt do you think he’ll let go? Sound off, PENN nation!