Dana White: Conor McGregor vs. Tony Ferguson unification bout 'has to happen'

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Tony Ferguson was crowned interim UFC lightweight champion on Saturday after defeating Kevin Lee via a third round triangle choke at UFC 216.

Ferguson (24-3) roared after claiming his 10th consecutive win and the interim lightweight belt created by McGregor's extended layoff from UFC action since November to await the birth of his son and then lose his boxing match to Floyd Mayweather Jr. on August 26.

Ferguson, favourite for the Las Vegas match-up, made weight at exactly 155 pounds (70kg) for the anticipated fight, which should decide the next opponent for megastar Conor McGregor.

"No one has talked to me since the sale happened", said McGregor following WME-IMG's €3.54 billion purchase of the UFC past year.

"Tony's the interim champion".

McGregor said that he will wait for the results at UFC 216 before making any decisions on his first fight back in the UFC. "It's the fight that has to happen".

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Ferguson and Lee (16-3) engaged in an entertaining battle in which the 25-year-old Lee ended the first round atop Ferguson, pounding his head with punches.

The date to accomplish a meeting by the end of the calendar year is December 30 at UFC 219 in Las Vegas.

"That's what we do", Johnson said of the unique end that increased his winning streak to 13. He even wanted to allow Lee to take him down, so he could work off of his back to get a submission. "You f-- piece of s--, I'm going to kick your ass", Ferguson said. Lee knows where he would weigh in.

Ferguson said he would be ready to fight McGregor as soon as "next week".

Depending on the results at UFC 216, the victor could have an extended medical suspension, making a quick turnaround to fight McGregor unlikely. He's got nowhere else to run.

Weight cutting remains a hugely controversial part of combat sports, with leading MMA journalist Ariel Helwani renewing calls for reform amid the Lee drama. Literally, he's running out of time.He needs to defend or vacate, but I'll tell you what Conor: "Just set it down and you won't get hurt".