Conor McGregor's status as UFC lightweight champion was left in more doubt than ever after Dana White claimed Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov will meet for the "undisputed title" at UFC 223.
McGregor added the 155-pound belt to his featherweight title with a historic victory over Eddie Alvarez in November 2016, but has not stepped foot in the octagon since, having pursued a money-spinning cross-combat bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr last year.
That pursuit culminated in a Las Vegas event for the ages in August, but the UFC has continued to turn without 'The Notorious' and Ferguson was crowned interim lightweight champion when he beat Kevin Lee at UFC 216 in October, his 10th consecutive win.
Both Ferguson (23-3) and undefeated Nurmagomedov (25-0) have spent much of the build-up to their April bout looking beyond each other and to McGregor, but White's non-committal performance at a press conference on Friday did little to push the Irishman's cause.
Asked whether McGregor would be stripped of his title and what exact title Ferguson and Nurmagomedov were fighting for, White offered the somewhat contradictory: "I have no update. The winner of this fight will be the champ."
White refused to directly answer questions about McGregor's champion status and later claimed, "It's an undisputed title fight", but did not elaborate on what that meant for McGregor.
The UFC president has previously said McGregor must fight by March in order to keep his lightweight title. He was stripped of his featherweight belt in November 2016.
White continued upon a similar theme here, saying: "Conor's saying, 'Maybe I'll come back in August, maybe I'll come back in September. Well, that’s almost two years. It's not fair to the rest of the guys in the division.
"I take so much s*** for how much I like Conor McGregor and everything else, but the division has to go on."