Conor McGregor won’t be fighting for a title next weekend but he still feels like he is the UFC lightweight champion.
UFC 257 will see Conor McGregor return to the lightweight division but there will be no belt on the line as Khabib Nurmagomedov weighs up his options and challenges the four men involved in next Saturday’s co-main and main event to impress him enough to persuade him to return for one last fight.
McGregor’s rematch with Dustin Poirier will close out UFC 257 and ahead of the bout, ‘The Notorious’ has explained why he still considers himself the champ at 155lbs.
According to McGregor, the belt was never wrapped around Nurmagomedov’s waist after the undefeated Russian submitted McGregor in the main event of UFC 229, defending his title in the process.
The infamous post-fight brawl meant that UFC President Dana White never got the opportunity to strap the gold around Nurmagomedov’s waist and, in McGregor’s eyes, that makes him feel like he is still the lightweight king.
“I am the champion because do you know that the unified title was never crowned?” McGregor said during an interview with Ariel Helwani.
"Do you know that the unified title was never crowned? … Khabib fled the cage and left me fighting with his family members in the cage.”@TheNotoriousMMA says he is still lightweight champion because the post-fight ceremony at UFC 229 never took place. (via @arielhelwani) pic.twitter.com/nWBGPsZMPQ
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) January 17, 2021
“The unified title was never crowned that time in October of 2018!
“Khabib fled the cage and left me fighting with his family members in the cage.
“The post-fight ceremony never took place so you know, I still feel like I am the champion here and I will go in and prove that.
“I’ll prove that with my performances and time will show that the cream always rises to the top and the world is about to see it.”
In all likelihood, McGregor is just poking at Nurmagomedov with the above jibe as the Irishman aims to set up a rematch with his fiercest rival.
Speaking earlier this week, McGregor admitted that he wasn’t overly bothered by the fact that a title won’t be on the line against Poirier as the Dubliner provided an update on his relationship with Dana White after a somewhat tempestuous 2020.