Dana White still isn’t buying Conor McGregor fighting Floyd Mayweather later this year.
The UFC president has long doubted the possibility that McGregor could meet Mayweather in a boxing match that would bring together the two biggest superstars in combat sports over the past decade.
Now White is flat out saying that he not only doesn’t believe the current UFC lightweight champion will face Mayweather but he expects the Irishman to return to the Octagon to face the interim champion at 155-pounds when he next steps in to compete again.
“I don’t know where we’re at. We’re nowhere with it,” White told TMZ when asked about the latest on McGregor vs. Mayweather.
“I expect Conor’s next fight to be in the UFC, in mixed martial arts, and the winner of Khabib [Nurmagomedov] and [Tony] Ferguson.”
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson meet this weekend at UFC 209 in a crucial bout in the lightweight division with both competitors on long winning streaks.
Nurmagomedov is undefeated in his professional career with a perfect 24-0 resume while Ferguson has put together an incredible nine-fight win streak in arguably the toughest division in the sport.
“Khabib and Ferguson hate each other. Those guys hate each other,” White said about the UFC 209 co-main event. “That fight’s going to be good. It’s going to be a good fight. Two nasty guys, No. 1 and No. 2 in the world, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
The winner of the fight will be crowned interim lightweight champion as McGregor sits on the sidelines after taking the title from Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 last November.
McGregor originally took time off to await the birth of his first child in May but lately he’s been embroiled in negotiations to make the super fight with Mayweather turn from rumor to reality.
White seems to believe McGregor will eventually move forward from the Mayweather fight when it doesn’t come together and he will instead face the interim champion crowned at UFC 209.
As far as the perception that McGregor would be in trouble facing a fighter the caliber of Nurmagomedov, who is a noted takedown artist with incredible ground control and wrestling, White scoffs at the idea that the current champion would just bow down to him if he’s successful against Ferguson this weekend.
“Listen, people have been doubting Conor since the day he stepped onto the scene,” White said. “Khabib is awesome, Khabib is tough but people have been doubting [Conor] since day one.”