Conor McGregor has been involved in a conversation about the worst-ever UFC title reign following Carla Esparza's loss to Zhang Weili.
Esparza lost her UFC strawweight title at the hands of Weili this past weekend at UFC 281, as 'The Cookie Monster' tapped out to a rear-naked choke in the second round. It meant Esparza was unable to defend the belt in her first defence having won it against Rose Namajunas in May, something she also failed to do when winning the same title back in 2014 as she lost it Joanna Jedrzejczyk in her next fight.
Fans have since debated who has had the worst title reign in UFC history after Esparza's loss, with McGregor's name being thrown in the hat; the former two-weight champion never defended either of his titles. "Esparza had as many title defences as Conor," a social media user pointed out. Another user said of Esparza's title reign, "At least she stepped in the octagon to defend her belt."
McGregor won the featherweight title by knocking out long-time champion Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds when they fought in December 2015, but the Irishman moved up to lightweight after the fight and was later stripped of his belt. 'Notorious' was also stripped of his 155lb belt, which he won against Eddie Alvarez in November 2016, due to inactivity.
Other UFC champions named in the debate were Germaine de Randamie, who won the inaugural women's featherweight title in February 2017 but was later stripped of her title after turning down multiple offers to fight Cris Cyborg. Nicco Montano was also named in the conversation; she won the inaugural flyweight title in December 2017 but was stripped of the belt after pulling out of her first title defence due to a bad weight cut.
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McGregor is hoping to become the first-ever three-weight UFC champion by making his comeback at welterweight next, year having not fought in almost 18 months. The Irishman was calling for a fight with Kamaru Usman upon his return, but the former pound-for-pound No.1 lost his title in August, when he was knocked out by Leon Edwards.
Edwards is expected to face Usman in a trilogy fight for the first defence of his belt, ruling out McGregor's hopes of a title shot. Top lightweight contender Michael Chandler recently called out McGregor following his loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 281, stating: “I respect him, I would love to see him come back and maybe I’ll be the guy that he comes back and fights. Conor McGregor stepping inside the Octagon with me does staggering numbers.”