The fighting future of UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor is currently shrouded in mystery. There is a chance, of course, that he’ll return to MMA, where is career began, where fights with interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, lightweight contender Nate Diaz, welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, and welterweight legend Georges St-Pierre could await. He might also return to the boxing ring, where he recently battled Floyd Mayweather Jr., for potential bouts with Manny Pacquiao, Paulie Malignaggi and even Oscar De La Hoya. And finally, there’s a chance he simply never fights again, content to live off the millions he’s already earned.
Indeed, we’re all wondering what the future holds for Conor McGregor, but in the opinion of top lightweight contender Edson Barboza, who battles Khabib Nurmagomedov in a possible title eliminator at UFC 219 this December 30, it really doesn’t matter. In his opinion, interim champion Tony Ferguson is now the true champion, and Conor McGregor is simply an afterthought.
“I’m number three in the rankings and I see Tony Ferguson as the actual champion,” Barboza recently told Combate (h/t BloodyElbow). “I always make this very clear. It doesn’t matter whether or not Conor McGregor comes back. I don’t know if he is coming back or not and I don’t care. All I hope for is that whoever wins my fight with Khabib, becomes the next one to fight Ferguson for the belt.”
Whatever the case, Barboza is ready to shine in the lightweight division, where he soon expects to wear gold.
“You can expect the best Edson Barboza that has ever stepped into the Octagon [at UFC 219],” he said. “I’m training a lot. I know my time is now. I’m ready to be an UFC champion, you’ll see.”
Do you share Edson Barboza’s opinion that Conor McGregor is no longer the true UFC lightweight champion?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 12/12/2017.