Has the UFC has finally lost patience with Conor McGregor?
CONOR McGregor will be stripped of his UFC lightweight title on Sunday (AEDT) to let Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov fight for it, according to a report in Russia.
The Irish MMA legend has been missing from the Octagon since claiming the 155-pound title 14 months ago, allowing American Ferguson to clinch the interim belt.
McGregor has discussed an August return but UFC kingpin Dana White has said that is too late.
Russian site Tass claims a source close to Dagestan fighter Nurmagomedov has revealed an April 7 showdown has been agreed and will happen in New York, with McGregor left empty-handed.
The fight will allegedly get announced at the UFC show on Sunday in Boston where Francis Ngannou challenges Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight belt.
Boston has a huge Irish crowd who will be gutted to learn their man has lost his gold - after being stripped of his featherweight belt also for inactivity.
But White said McGregor's MMA hiatus had simply dragged on too long. "I don't think Conor wants to fight until August, but if he waits until August or September, that's around two years since the belt has been defended, and that can't happen," White said.
"Not only to the sport, but to the other fighters. This is game of time. Time is your enemy in this sport, or any other sport.
"When you're a professional athlete, time is your enemy, and we can't let this thing go on forever and not give other guys the opportunity.
"Tony Ferguson has been around for a long time and has earned his dues, Khabib has earned his dues, and the list goes on and on."
Nurmagomedov-Ferguson should have happened on March 5 but the Russian was hospitalised after a disastrous weight cut.