Conor McGregor: I am still the UFC lightweight champion

By Adam Martin - January 17, 2021

UFC superstar Conor McGregor says that he believes he is still the lightweight champion ahead of his return to the Octagon at UFC 257.

Conor McGregor

Back at UFC 229 in October 2018, McGregor met Khabib Nurmagomedov in an attempt to win back the UFC lightweight title that was stripped of the Irishman due to inactivity. Nurmagomedov dominated the fight, knocking McGregor down on the feet and then thrashing him on the ground before finally locking in the fight-ending neck crank in the fourth round. After the fight was over, there was then the infamous brawl between Team Khabib and Team McGregor.

Due to all the excitement in the cage that night, UFC president Dana White wanted to get Nurmagomedov out of the Octagon, so there wasn’t a post-fight ceremony where White put the belt around Nurmagomedov’s waist. In McGregor’s view, this means that Nurmagomedov was never really the champ.

“I am the champion. Do you know that the unified title was never crowned? The unified title was never crowned that time in October 2018 because Khabib fled the cage. Khabib fled the cage and left me fighting with his family members in the cage. The post-fight ceremony never took place. So you know, I still feel like I am the champion here. And I will go in and prove that. I will prove that with my performances. And you know,  Time will show that the cream always rises to the top, and the world is about to see it,” McGregor told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.

The most bizarre thing about McGregor’s statement is that he said the fight at UFC 229 was a title unification bout, but that isn’t true. By that point, McGregor had already been stripped of his belt after not fighting in the Octagon since winning the lightweight strap from Eddie Alvarez in November 2016. After missing all of 2017 due to taking a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, McGregor was stripped of his belt. Nurmagomedov ended up winning the vacant belt over Al Iaquinta at UFC 223 and has held it ever since.

Do you still view Conor McGregor as the UFC lightweight champion?

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Conor McGregor Khabib Nurmagomedov UFC