Dana White Comments on Conor McGregor Relinquishing Featherweight Belt

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2016

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 12:  UFC lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor of Ireland celebrates after defeating Eddie Alvarez in their UFC lightweight championship fight during the UFC 205 event at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Conor McGregor made history at UFC 205 when he became a two-division champion by virtue of his lightweight title victory over Eddie Alvarez, but he relinquished his featherweight belt on Nov. 26. 

On Thursday, UFC President Dana White explained McGregor had to vacate the featherweight strap in order to let other fighters in the division compete for the prestigious honor. 

"Look, I let Conor fight [Nate] Diaz and then I let him fight Diaz again," White said, per Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole. "Then there was the whole 155-pound thing I let him do. But at the end of the day, him doing that tied up the division for a year. There’s a logjam there and a lot of guys were [angry]." 

White also clarified that McGregor decided to give up the featherweight title of his own volition before Jose Aldo was named the division's undisputed champion. 

And with an interim title matchup between Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway slated for UFC 206 on Dec. 10 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, White admitted he hopes to see the logjam clear out. 

"I wanted Aldo to fight Holloway for the belt, but he needed more time," he said, per Iole. "So I looked at it and I said, Well, it makes sense to make Aldo the champion and then have Holloway and Pettis fight for the interim title, and when Jose’s ready, barring any crazy injuries, the winner can fight him."

And while Pettis (19-5) has lost three of his last four fights, Holloway will enter UFC 206 on a nine-fight winning streak that most recently saw him dispatch Ricardo Lamas by unanimous decision at UFC 199 in June. 

If Holloway can emerge victorious next weekend, he will have a chance to squash Aldo after calling him out for not stepping up and fighting at UFC 206. 

"I was supposed to be booked with the interim title (with) Jose Aldo at (UFC) 205, they was talking about or either here at 206," he said, per Fox Sports' Damon Martin. "I don't know what's going with that guy's mind. He needs to get his mind straight."

Holloway added: "Mother (expletive) had a fight and he didn't take it and now it's me and Pettis. Now it's time to go out there and put on a show for the Canadians and Toronto and the world." 

With bad blood percolating in the featherweight division, fans should be amped for UFC 206 before Holloway or Pettis gets to square off against Aldo in 2017. 

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