It’s now been over a year since Conor McGregor won the UFC’s lightweight title and one of the other leading contenders in the division, Khabib Nurmagomedov, is getting increasingly frustrated with the fact that so far ‘The Notorious’ has not defended the belt.
“If (McGregor) doesn’t have injuries, and he doesn’t defend his belt for more than a year, then it’s very bad,” Nurmagomedoc said during a Russian fan Q&A this week. “When you are the champion and you don’t have an injury, you have to defend it. I really liked how Georges St-Pierre acted in a similar situation. Once he understood that he won’t be able to fight, he didn’t hold his division (in wait). That’s the decision of a real champion.
“Conor doesn’t defend his belt. I don’t even know when he is going to do that. He has the name. It’s profitable for the UFC that he is the champion. They make money because of him and they won’t strip him off the belt.
“But in my opinion, Conor had to be stripped of his belt a long time ago and Tony Ferguson should be the real champion.”
McGregor’s inactivity at 155lbs is definitely an issue that has to be resolved sooner rather than later, and the signs are that the Irish superstar’s intentions are to return to the Octagon next, which hopefully will lead to a title unification clash with the interim champion Ferguson to get the top end of the division firing on all cylinders again in 2018.
In the mean time, Nurmagomedov will be looking to re-stablish himself as the definitive No.1 contender in the division when he goes up against Edson Barboza at UFC 219 on December 30th in Las Vegas.