Despite Conor McGregor’s recent outbursts on social media, UFC president Dana White told ESPN on Thursday he has not talked to the former two-weight champion about his next fight.
McGregor, 31, has “accepted” everything from a boxing match against retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya to a superfight against MMA legend Anderson Silva in recent weeks. He’s also teased a return to the Octagon in July and singled out newly crowned interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje as a potential foe.
McGregor posted a message to Gaethje on social media earlier this month: “Try and dance around what the real threat is here all you want. I am going to f—ing butcher you. Your teeth. I’m going to put them on a f—ing necklace. Speak on my skills as a father? You are f—ing dead.”
Speaking to ESPN on Thursday, White said he has not seriously discussed McGregor’s next move and implied he still prefers for him to face the winner of an expected lightweight unification bout between Gaethje (22-2) and undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0).
“Conor and I have not talked about fighting,” White said. “If you’re Conor, sitting at home, everybody is calling you out, in every weight division. Who’s next? I’m waiting for [heavyweight Daniel Cormier] to call him out, you know? Conor, his personality, he’s going to respond to that.
“I think what Conor needs to do is sit back and let these fights start rolling out. Obviously, the most important division is the 155-pound [lightweight] division. See what plays out.”
Nurmagomedov is currently in his native Russia. He confirmed last month that his father underwent heart surgery; he is currently battling the coronavirus in Moscow. White has suggested the bout between Nurmagomedov and Gaethje could happen in September.
McGregor (22-4), of Ireland, is coming off a 40-second knockout victory over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in January. That fight was contested at 170 pounds. The UFC’s current 170-pound welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, recently told ESPN he’d extend a title shot to McGregor at that weight. But White said Usman will not be McGregor’s next opponent.