Conor McGregor is no longer a two-division UFC champion.
The Irish superstar has vacated his featherweight title and interim champ Jose Aldo has been promoted to champion in the 145-pound divsion.
UFC officials announced during the broadcast of UFC Fight Night 101 on Saturday night from Australia that McGregor has “relinquished” the belt, though its unclear whether he was stripped or opted to give up the title. He has maintained he would challenge any effort to take one of his belts away after he became the first fighter in UFC history to concurrently hold titles in two different weight classes.
McGregor’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment.
McGregor won the featherweight title with a 13-second knockout of Aldo in December 2015. An interim title was created, and won by Aldo with a victory over Frankie Edgar in July, as McGregor moved up in weight and eventually won the lightweight belt with a second-round knockout of Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in New York on Nov. 12.
A featherweight bout between Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway on Dec. 10 in Toronto will now headline UFC 206 with a new interim title at stake.
UFC president Dana White has long said McGregor wouldn’t be able to hold titles in two weight classes because it would tie up two divisions. That point became even more salient when McGregor announced he would be taking a hiatus from fighting as he and his girlfriend prepare for the birth of their first child in early 2017.
The decision was expedited when UFC 206 lost its main event this week as Daniel Cormier suffered an injury and won’t be able to defend the title against Anthony Johnson. Stripping McGregor of the belt and promoting Aldo to champion enables the bout between Holloway and Pettis to be contested with a belt on the line, though its legitimacy will surely be called into question.
A UFC official confirmed an MMAFighting.com report that Johnson turned down a bout with Gegard Mousasi as a replacement opponent to instead wait for Cormier to return from injury.
Also announced Saturday was a plan for Kelvin Gastelum to replace Rashad Evans in a middleweight bout against Tim Kennedy. Evans was pulled from the card last week when commission officials in Ontario voiced concern about his medicals.
Gastelum, however, is under suspension from the New York State Athletic Commission for failing to appear at weigh-ins for UFC 205. Gastelum abandoned his weight cut and a scheduled fight against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone was scrapped. Gastelum’s team has appealed the suspension and UFC officials are believed to be lobbying behind the scenes on his behalf to lift the sanction, which would almost certainly be honored by the commission in Ontario.
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