Last December, Ireland’s Conor McGregor won the UFC featherweight title with a 13 second knockout of Jose Aldo. In his next fight, he was expected to take on then lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos for a shot at a second UFC belt. When Dos Anjos withdrew from this planned contest with an injury, however, McGregor would take on Nate Diaz on just 11 days’ notice – a fight he would famously lose. From there, McGregor would rematch Diaz, this time walking away with a hard-fought majority decision win. His next and most recent bout would see him get the lightweight title shot he was originally supposed to get against Dos Anjos – though the champion by this point was Eddie Alvarez. McGregor would dominate Alvarez to a second-round TKO, becoming the first fighter in UFC history to hold titles in two weight classes simultaneously as he did.
If math isn’t your strong suit, that’s three fights McGregor has taken since he won the UFC featherweight title almost a year ago – and not one of them was a defense of that title. Though he is an undeniably talented fighter, he’s hardly the picture of an active champion.
McGregor’s fights in the welterweight and lightweight divisions have slowed things down considerably at featherweight. The UFC was forced to crown an interim champion in Jose Aldo, while the rest of the division’s contenders were forced to skirmish amongst themselves with no undisputed champion to gun for.
Last night, during the UFC Fight Night 101 broadcast, the UFC finally slammed down the hammer, announcing that McGregor had “relinquished” the featherweight title, and that Jose Aldo had been promoted to undisputed champion. Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis, meanwhile, will fight for the interim featherweight belt at UFC 206, replacing a scrapped Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson bout as the card’s new main event.
As of now, neither McGregor nor Aldo has produced a public reaction to this strange twist. Yet the news has generated reactions from many of the games top fighters – including Holloway and Pettis – as well as many respected MMA journalists and commentators.
Here are some of the best reactions to this massive shakeup at featherweight:
— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) November 27, 2016
— Anthony Pettis (@Showtimepettis) November 27, 2016
Two guys who really deserve a big opportunity 👏🏽 https://t.co/TX8NQrA7kh
— Cub Swanson (@CubSwanson) November 27, 2016
Breaking: current interim champ looks to hold every interim belt ever. pic.twitter.com/V2beauakfi
— The Mane Event™ (@EliasTheodorou) November 27, 2016
Lets taco-bout it. So is Jose Aldo happy to hear the news that Conor has been stripped of the title & hes now "Champ" again @EliasTheodorou
— Aljamain Sterling (@FunkMaster_UFC) November 27, 2016
If Conor announced he'll address "relinquish" story on @Maclifeofficial for 3.99USD via iPPV, would you buy it? My guess: 75k buys at least.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) November 27, 2016
For what it's worth: Jose Aldo is now the 7th fighter in UFC history to become a multi-time undisputed titleholder.
— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) November 27, 2016
Volkanovski saying he wants to take out the featherweight division. — no word on whether he's been given an interim title yet.
— TheMacLife (@Maclifeofficial) November 27, 2016
The only way I can see him willingly do this is if they offered equity in return for the title. Surely we would've heard about that though? https://t.co/YdZC67M01O
— Peter Carroll (@PetesyCarroll) November 27, 2016
— Chris Taylor (@CTaylor_96) November 27, 2016
The only way Jose Aldo will be able to get this Conor McGregor monkey off his back is to fight him at 155lbs. He's a 145lbs paper champion.
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) November 27, 2016
— Tom Taylor (@TomTayMMA) November 27, 2016
Interesting little factoid, Jose Aldo has never won a UFC championship belt (excluding interim) he's always been "promoted".
— Izi (@MMA_Inciter) November 27, 2016
UFC just out here making up belts and robbing the word "interim" of any actual meaning.
— Ben Fowlkes (@benfowlkesMMA) November 27, 2016
How did you react to the news that McGregor had been stripped of the title? How do you think McGregor himself will react? Sound off, PENN Nation!