With Conor McGregor taking his second straight welterweight fight against Nate Diaz next month at UFC 202, the UFC’s featherweight division has been forced to play out without him.
However, while fighters like Frankie Edgar have questioned McGregor’s intent to ever fight in the division again, McGregor made it clear on Thursday what he’s got planned for the future.
“You know, I giggle. I giggle when they try to take that credit from me, for going up to this weight and fighting at 170 lbs., and they try and say ‘it’s just a fight where he’s not cutting weight’ and all this bullshit. Make no mistake I am the undisputed 145 lb. UFC Champion,” McGregor said at the UFC 202 press conference in Las Vegas. “That is my division, a division I’ve destroyed. Saturday night now two fighters get to fight and rise up and see where we are, but make no mistake that 145 lb. division is my division. I am the world champion at that weight, and I will continue to dominate that division. I have other business that has presented itself that I must handle first, but make no mistake 145, 155, these are all my divisions and I will continue to come back and dominate them.
“I’ll correct that win [over Diaz at UFC 202]. I’ll reclaim this (Featherweight Title), let all those featherweights know who are praying that I don’t come back. I don’t even understand how they can say I’m not coming back, like I’ve missed weight before. I’ve never missed weight in my life. Not only have I not missed weight, I’ve actually made championship weight when I didn’t even fight for a championship belt. So I’ll beat Nate, get that win back, dominate my division again, and then we’ll re-talk for the trilogy fight with Nate.”
Penick’s Analysis: Well that settles that for now. If that’s the plan, it’s the right plan, and keeps him in line for several more significant headlining fights in the next year. If he beats Diaz, the fight with either Frankie Edgar or Jose Aldo should be on the Madison Square Garden card in November. He and Diaz can then settle things in a rubber match from there, and then he can figure out what’s next at 145 lbs. or his remaining desire to be a two-division champion. It starts on August 20, and he has to win that fight with Diaz to keep his drawing power at its peak.
[Photo (c) Gary A. Vasquez via USA Today Sports]
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