As far as Dana White is concerned, Conor McGregor has his next opponent.
Moments after Tony Ferguson's interim lightweight title win over Kevin Lee at UFC 216 in Las Vegas on Saturday, the UFC president told FOX Sports 1's Megan Olivi that the new divisional champ will indeed face undisputed king Conor McGregor in a championship unification bout.
White would not attach a target date to the matchup.
Interim champs are traditionally crowned for a date with the reigning titleholder, although whether McGregor would in fact face the winner of Saturday’s main event was the subject of much speculation, as a rubber match with Nate Diaz – the Irishman’s greatest rival – still looms large.
McGregor himself remained noncommittal on his next move in a recent Q&A, stating he'd re-evaluate the landscape once Ferguson and Lee had squared off. After Saturday's card, White appears to have relieved him of the decision. The UFC boss added at the postfight presser that the unification bout "has to happen," after shooting down rumblings of a trilogy tilt between McGregor and Diaz.
While it’s still early to put a timeline on McGregor’s return to the Octagon, his coach John Kavanagh recently ruled out December’s UFC 219. The lightweight king last fought Floyd Mayweather in August, but hasn’t seen the Octagon since winning the crown with a second-round knockout of Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 last November.
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