Dana White says a title unification bout between Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson is the ‘fight that has to happen’.
Last night at UFC 216, Tony Ferguson became the first interim lightweight champion in the promotion’s history and left no doubt as to who should challenge Conor McGregor for the official strap.
Ferguson, who extended his win streak to ten, submitted budding prospect Kevin Lee with a triangle choke in the third round. ‘El Cucuy’ started off slow, losing the first round quite decisively, but revealed in the post-fight interview that his gameplan was to tire out his opponent in the early rounds.
Ferguson also called out ‘The Notorious’ for a title unification bout, and UFC president Dana White says it’s the ‘fight that makes sense’.
Rumors circulated of a potential Conor McGregor-Nate Diaz trilogy bout in the fall, but White claims it was ‘internet bullsh-t’.
“Nobody’s talked about Diaz,” White told reporters at the UFC 216 post-fight press conference, per MMA Fighting’s Alexander K. Lee. “Diaz has never been talked about. That’s internet bullsh*t. Tony’s the interim champion, Conor’s the champion, that’s the fight that makes sense. It’s the fight that has to happen, it doesn’t ‘make sense,’ it’s the fight that has to happen.”
McGregor captured the 155-pound title last year and, instead of defending it against a top UFC contender, accepted an offer he couldn’t refuse: A mega boxing fight against none other than Floyd Mayweather Jr.
McGregor lost the fight via 10th TKO and revealed that he plans to return to the Octagon to defend his belt and ‘legitimize’ the rankings.
White, the UFC’s longtime head promoter, didn’t give a date but hinted that the Irishman may be back in the cage much sooner than people think.
“Not yet. We didn’t specifically talk about it, but yeah we talked about it kinda,” White said of McGregor’s return. “He wants to fight again this year. He does want to fight again this year so he went and partied in Ibiza for a while, went back home for awhile, you gotta let him blow off some steam and then figure it out.”
White believes the clash of unorthodox styles between Ferguson and McGregor would make for a ‘great fight’.
“Tony’s a busy guy. He keeps coming forward, he keeps throwing all kinds of different things at ya. And Conor’s awesome. There’s no way that’s not a great fight. Impossible.”
If Ferguson is cleared of any medical suspensions and McGregor really does want to return by the end of the year, the two lightweight champions could square off at UFC 219 on Dec. 30.