Lightweight Tony Ferguson chokes out Kevin Lee into submission during their UFC 216 fight at the T-Mobile Arena.
That being said, the reality is that McGregor holds all the aces here as by far and away the UFC's biggest and wealthiest star, so if he says he wants to go in a different direction and fight someone else then it's going to be hard to convince him otherwise.
Following his fight with Ferguson, Lee's emotions washed across his face as he fielded questions from the media about the fight and his future, admitting that it's probably time for him to take a break.
"I'll ankle-pick him. No problem".
"Tony is the interim champion; Conor is the champion".More news: Italy held by Macedonia 1-1, nearly into World Cup 2018 playoffs
When asked if he had spoken to McGregor about his return to the octagon, White said that McGregor intends to fight again before the year is over but that he is still enjoying some time off following his professional boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather Jr. "It's the fight that has to happen". After almost submitting a fading Lee (16-3) in Round 3 with an armbar, Ferguson locked in a triangle choke to force the tap at 4:02. McGregor's decision to move from featherweight to lightweight past year was part of the reason Ferguson had to win nine straight fights, an inordinately high amount, before receiving a title shot.
Lee said he felt the effects of cutting 19 pounds in less than 24 hours before Friday's weigh-in, and from battling a staph infection without using antibiotics.
"We were just out there having fun", Ferguson said.
Addressing McGregor he added: "You're in check and I'm great at chess". "He's the rightful champion".
Depending on the results at UFC 216, the victor could have an extended medical suspension, making a quick turnaround to fight McGregor unlikely. "Defend or vacate, motherf**ker!"