UFC president Dana White has named Conor McGregor’s next opponent and it isn’t boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather.
White spoke with TMZ in Los Angeles and said McGregor’s next fight is to be inside the Octagon — not in the boxing ring, as many fans hoped.
“I expect his next fight to be in the UFC in mixed martial arts,” White said. “It will be the winner of Khabib [Nurmagomedov] and [Tony] Ferguson.”
McGregor is currently on an extended break from the UFC as his partner Dee Devlin awaits the birth of the couple’s first child.
The lightweight champion is expected to return in mid-2017, and the UFC president is planning for McGregor to defend his title against the winner of the showdown at UFC 209 between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson.
McGregor has publicly angled for a multi-million-dollar showdown with Mayweather, but White says that fight is no closer to happening.
“I don’t know where we’re at. We’re nowhere with it. We’re nowhere,” White said.
Despite reports during the week that Mayweather had approached leading boxing trainer Freddie Roach to assist McGregor in his transition to boxing, the UFC president doesn’t believe the Irish star will make the move.
“Conor wouldn’t train with anybody,” White said. “He’s got his own team and his own crew.”
Both Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have taken shots at McGregor in recent weeks. The pair claim McGregor is trying to make the fight with Mayweather so he does not have to return to the UFC and face them.
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson both say they will defeat McGregor should they ever meet him inside the Octagon.
“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.”
Mayweather celebrated his 40th birthday on Friday, and used the occasion to again stoke the fire of a potential showdown with McGregor.
The fight would be expected to break all records, making each fighter millions, but negotiations are difficult given McGregor’s contract with the UFC.
Mayweather says the ball is in McGregor’s court to make the highly anticipated fight a reality.
“Conor McGregor, like I said before, let’s make it happen,” Mayweather said. “My number is there. He has to get his thing in order with his team. Once Conor McGregor speaks to the UFC and his bosses, then we can make it happen.”
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