When the UFC took the featherweight belt from Conor McGregor shortly after earning the UFC lightweight title at UFC 205, the company received a lot of backlash from the fans.
Dana White appeared on the UFC unfiltered podcast with former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra and Jim Norton to discuss the UFC stripping McGregor of one of his titles.
‘I didn’t strip him of anything you know what I mean?’
I said every day leading up to that fight at UFC 205, that McGregor had to give up one of the belts if he won the lightweight title in New York but that doesn’t take away from anything’ White said. ‘He say’s he is still a two-weight world champion, and he’s damn right he is. He is a two-weight world champion. It doesn’t take away from anything that he has achieved and when it comes to the featherweight title, he didn’t lose it, he is the man at 145lbs’
White then went on to explain the reasoning behind forcing McGregor to give up the featherweight title.
“Look, I let Conor fight [Nate] Diaz and then I let him fight Diaz again,” White said about McGregor’s two fights at welterweight earlier this year.
“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.”
“This was my way to fix the logjam. I wanted Aldo to fight (Max) Holloway for the belt, but he needed more time. So, I looked at it and I said, ‘well, it makes sense to make Aldo the champion and then have Holloway and (Anthony) Pettis fight for the interim title, and when Jose’s ready, barring any crazy injuries, the winner can fight him’.”
The decision to strip McGregor of his featherweight title did not go down well with his coach John Kavanagh, who lashed out at the authorities of the promotional company over their decision. Kavanagh was not impressed by the turn of events calling the decision shortsighted.
White though has refuted such suggestions, claiming that McGregor knew that such an action would take place.
“He’s misinformed. Yeah, he doesn’t know all that has gone on, I guess. Do you think I just did this? This was Conor’s decision.”
When asked about Conor McGregor being granted a boxing licence, White admitted that he didn’t see that coming.
‘I don’t see anything coming with Conor, he is a very unique individual and I don’t see anything coming when it comes to him’ White stated. ‘I just let Conor do his thing.’
Everyone always thinks there is animosity there between myself and Conor but listen, I don’t know how much more I can say it publically that I respect the guy, how different and special he is