Conor McGregor wants to be the third UFC two-division champion, but he wants to be the first man to hold two belts at the same time. However, it's unclear whether he'll be allowed to do so.
Mixed reports came in about McGregor's immediate future, with UFC President Dana White hinting that his days as a featherweight may be done, while McGregor himself said that he intends to one-up Randy Couture and BJ Penn by holding two UFC titles at the same time.
Dave Sholler says if Conor stays at 145 he'll fight Frankie Edgar or he abandons the title and faces the winner of Dos Anjos/Cerrone #UFC194— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) December 13, 2015
White discussed the development in standard UFC terms. The UFC has never been keen on letting fighters bounce freely between divisions and has never let champions do it, unless the division had no remotely legitimate contender available. While there have been a handful of exceptions, the UFC prefers to assign fighters to a division, and hold them there fairly rigidly.
The implication from White was that McGregor would have to choose between vacating his featherweight title and moving up to lightweight for an immediate title shot, or stay at 145-pounds and defend his title.
McGregor, on the other hand, spoke at the post-fight press conference and made it crystal clear that he has no intention of vacating his featherweight title, and intends to hold both belts simultaneously.
McGregor says if he goes up he is not vacating the 145 belt. "I will be a dual weight champion. The belts will be active because I am active— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 13, 2015
It's an interesting, previously unseen dynamic for the UFC and, quite simply, it feels like McGregor is actively ignoring the UFC's plans and simply doing what is best for his brand, and his wallet. That's a wise business move, of course, and it could easily pay off.
While a rematch with Aldo could be huge, the biggest potential fight for McGregor at this time would likely be a superfight opposite a champion Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone. Cerrone is arguably the biggest name in the UFC's lightweight division and, if he manages to take the title from Rafael dos Anjos next week at UFC on Fox 17, he could represent the biggest paycheck available for the Irishman.
Warning, NSFW Language
Obviously, the world is only a few hours deep into the McGregor Era, and things could change in any number of ways over the coming months. Regardless, how this story unfolds could be one of 2016's most important stories. Keep a close eye on this.