Conor McGregor has officially stepped down as the featherweight champion of the UFC. The vacant title will now go to Jose Aldo, the former featherweight champion who McGregor defeated in last year.
McGregor and Aldo faced off for the featherweight title in December 2015 at UFC 194. Thirteen seconds into the fight, McGregor knocked out Aldo.
Since winning the title, McGregor has not yet defended it because he had already moved on from the 145-pound mark to 155 to qualify for the lightweight title, which he won from Eddie Alvarez earlier this month at UFC 2015.
According to The Spec, this is the main reason why McGregor decided to drop the featherweight title. As noted by the site, McGregor's decision to leave the title has affected the main event fight card for the upcoming UFC 2016, which will be held in Toronto next month.
For the event, featherweight contenders Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis will fight for the interim title. The winner will then get the chance to take on Aldo, who will then defend his newly re-acquired championship title.
According to Audie Attar, McGregor's agent, the fighter had already thought about keeping both titles. But being the businessman that he is, McGregor may have decided that just focusing on the lightweight title is more beneficial for him.
"He's a businessman, so he is going to make business decisions," Attar said according to The Guardian. "No matter what happens, nobody will ever be able to take those belts away from him. Nobody has [beaten] him for those belts. So the way I look at it is, whatever business decision Conor decides to make, it's a smart one."
"We have proven that to date," he added. "If a belt is taken or what have you, it's figurative. He still keeps that win. Nobody beat him to dethrone him."
As for when McGregor's next fight will be, UFC President Dana White noted that the he might not enter the Octagon until May of next year to spend time with his girlfriend, who is expecting to give birth in early 2017.
"He should take time off," White said. "He has been fighting nonstop. Nothing wrong with him taking off. It's good for him and [Dee Devlin], and it's good for the baby."