UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor is coming off a 100 million dollar payday for a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr., and has the ability to pick his shots at this point. While a return to boxing against Paulie Malignaggi or a third UFC bout with Nate Diaz are possibilities, it seems that McGregor is focused on uniting the lightweight title.
McGregor, in an interview with independent.ie to promote his movie, confirmed that negotiations have begun for him to fight interim 155-pound champion Tony Ferguson. He doesn’t use his name, but he does name the title he holds (transcript via MMA Fighting):
“I’ve got everyone clawing at me, trying to get at me, and that’s from multiple sports, multiple organizations, multiple everything,” McGregor said. “It’s been like that for a long, long time, I feel, so it’s just another day for me. I know there are many contenders in the UFC. There are many boxing contenders as well. What interests me is certainly a UFC bout, certainly a defense of my lightweight title. There is a fighter with the interim lightweight belt. I feel that will be next. We’ll see how negotiations go.”
He also discusses his other opportunities, but in the end, he wants to defend his belt against the other legitimate title holder:
“The Diaz trilogy is also there,” McGregor said. “I can defend my belt against Nate. Maybe we can persuade one of these boxing opponents to step into the Octagon, or there’s also boxing bouts as well. So, there’s so many options. I feel to legitimize the belt — there’s an interim champion, I’m the unified champion — I feel that will be next. We are currently in contract negotiations, and we’ll see where it goes.”
McGregor (21-3, 9-1 UFC) hasn’t stepped into the Octagon since winning the lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 last November. Ferguson (23-3, 13-1 UFC) picked up the interim belt by stopping Kevin Lee at UFC 216 in early October.