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Conor McGregor's leverage a troubling reality for UFC

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How would McGregor fare as a pro boxer? (1:12)

Brett Okamoto says the UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor has a fantastic work ethic, but the skill set to succeed in mixed martial arts is different than the skill set needed in boxing. (1:12)

The California State Athletic Commission has approved approximately 1,200 boxing licenses in 2016. None of them made global headlines except for Conor McGregor's, on Wednesday.

It's obvious that a UFC lightweight champion obtaining a license to box is of great interest. But what does it really mean?

One thing it doesn't mean is we all need to book flights to LAX for an inevitable match between McGregor and retired five-division champion Floyd Mayweather. Boxing license or not, there remain very tall hurdles between this fantasy fight and reality.

But if McGregor's rise has taught us anything, it's that doubting him doesn't always work out. "That'll never happen" are risky words when talking about "Mystic Mac," whose words get a lot of attention because, as he has stated literally hundreds of times, his actions tend to back them up.

And lately, he has been talking a lot about Mayweather and a $100 million payday.

McGregor made history at UFC 205 on Nov. 12 by becoming the first fighter to hold two UFC titles simultaneously. Afterward, he laid out his expectations.

Since the UFC sold for $4 billion earlier this year, McGregor says he has had no business discussions with new ownership WME-IMG. He expected that to change.

"They've got to come talk to me now, that's all I know," said McGregor, shortly after UFC 205. "Both belts, chunk of money, little family on the way -- you want me to stick around and keep doing what I'm doing? Let's talk. I want ownership now. I want the equal share. I want what I deserve, what I've earned."

It has been less than a month, but there has been no indication McGregor received that meeting. There was, however, the UFC's recent announcement that he had "relinquished" one of his titles -- the 145-pound belt he won less than a year ago.

That announcement took place during last weekend's televised UFC event. McGregor didn't appear on the broadcast and wasn't involved in the news at all. He has yet to even publicly comment on it.

In order for McGregor to use that newly acquired boxing license, he would need to either obtain the UFC's blessing or challenge certain aspects of his contract. The first seems unlikely, and the second requires money and time.

But looking back at his UFC 205 comments, which include his intention to take time off until at least May for the birth of his first child, wasn't McGregor suggesting he now has both? He's 28 and coming off a year in which he says he netted $40 million.

He has a carrot -- or at the very least, the perception of a carrot -- in this mysterious Mayweather fight (or any boxing match, for that matter). As a boxer, he would also be entitled to various protections of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, which currently does not extend to mixed martial artists.

Does this license show he's actually headed in that direction? Or is it entirely symbolic, to create more leverage with the UFC?

The best bet is the latter, but it's hard to be sure of anything when it comes to McGregor and his plans. Right now, that's a troubling reality if you're the UFC.