Conor McGregor will get his chance at becoming the first fighter in UFC history to hold two titles in two weight classes at once, after all.
The UFC featherweight champion will challenge Eddie Alvarez for the UFC lightweight title in the main event of UFC 205 at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12. UFC president Dana White announced the bout late Monday night on ESPN’s SportsCenter.
Additionally, McGregor will not relinquish the featherweight championship leading up to UFC 205, making the meeting a champion vs. champion superfight.
McGregor (20-3) was scheduled to face then-lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 196 on March 5. But dos Anjos pulled out of the fight a couple weeks in advance due to a broken foot, and Nate Diaz stepped in. Diaz won the bout, which was contested at welterweight, via second-round submission. A rematch, at UFC 202, also at welterweight, was won by McGregor on a majority decision.
Alvarez (28-4) has cut a swath through the UFC’s 155-pound weight class. After losing to Donald Cerrone in his UFC debut at UFC 178, the former champion then defeated former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez and former UFC and WEC champ Anthony Pettis before knocking out dos Anjos in the opening round of their July 7 fight in Las Vegas to claim the title.
As is usually the case when a major bout is made these days, there are casaulities. One is undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov (23-0), who was expecting to fight Alvarez at either UFC 205 or 206 and had signed bout agreements for both. Alvarez plainly preferred the matchup with McGregor.
Another is interim featherweight champion Jose Aldo. McGregor has not defended his 145-pound belt since defeating Aldo via knockout to claim the title on Dec. 12. The interim title, won by Aldo over Frankie Edgar at UFC 200, was created after McGregor decided on a Diaz rematch instead of a featherweight title defense.
The McGregor vs Alvarez fight means the UFC’s first-ever card in New York City, following an near-decade-long battle to have the sport legalized in New York State, now features three championship fights: Alvarez vs McGregor ; Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson for the welterweight title; and Joanna Jedrzejcyzk vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz for the strawweight belt.