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Ferguson vs. Khabib at UFC 223 is for the lightweight title, Dana White says

Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia addresses the media during

Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia addresses the media during UFC 205 media day at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 9, 2016. Credit: Getty Images / Michael Reaves

Has Conor McGregor been stripped of his UFC lightweight championship?

That remained unclear still at the UFC 223 news conference for Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov on Friday in Las Vegas.

“The winner of this fight will be the champion,” UFC president Dana White said Friday.

When asked if that means McGregor is no longer the lightweight champion, White said “You will see what happens.”

White again was pressed later for more clarity, but stopped short of saying McGregor no longer is the lightweight champion.

“They’re gonna fight for the title,” White said of Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov. “This is the real title.”

Ferguson is the interim champion, although he was introduced as “the champion.” He is scheduled to defend that title against Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 in Brooklyn on April 7.

“It’s not fair to the rest of the guys in the division,” White said. “The division has to go on.”

McGregor won the title from Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November 2016 but has yet to defend it. Last August, he fought a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr., losing by technical knockout in the 10th round.

McGregor is the fourth fighter to win titles in multiple UFC weight classes and the first to hold two titles at the same time. He won the featherweight title with a 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo in December 2015. He never defended that title and was stripped of it in November 2016, shortly after he won the lightweight title.

New York Sports