Conor McGregor could return to the Octagon by year’s end, UFC president Dana White has revealed. McGregor has been out of action since his 40-second demolition of Donald Cerrone in January.
The UFC’s first simultaneous two-weight world champion had aspirations of fighting three times this year but had those hopes shattered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Less than amicable talks with the UFC brass also put paid to McGregor’s plans, so much so he announced his third retirement from mixed martial arts in June.
After leaving the promotion’s poster boy alone for a few months, White has since reached to McGregor and begun preliminary negotiations with the Irishman.
“We’re actually working on some fun stuff for Conor at the beginning of next year,” White said during an appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter. “He should be back next year.
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Late 2020 or early 2021
Dana White on Conor McGregor’s next fight
“I’m not saying he’s coming back to fight guaranteed, but we’re talking about some stuff.”
In a separate interview with TSN, however, the UFC chief suggested there’s a chance we could see ‘The Notorious’ back in action before the end of 2020.
“I came up with an idea a couple days ago, and I reached out to him to see what he thought, and he was interested,” White told TSN.
“So, we’re kicking some stuff around. It’s not done.
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“When it’s done, I would love to share the idea with you when it’s ready to roll.
“It’s just an idea right now. Yeah, late 2020 or early 2021.”
White’s plans for McGregor’s next outing, whatever they might be, could be derailed by legal issues for the Dubliner.
Ireland’s first UFC champion was last week arrested and questioned in Corsica following an allegation of an “attempted sexual assault”.
McGregor, 32, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and has vowed to expose those trying to tarnish his name.
In a passionate post on his private Facebook account, the 32-year-old said: “Never will I fold! The truth is the truth and it gives me wings!
“I know my character! God bless DNA! God bless Cctv! God bless Eye witness! God bless the truth! The truth is power! I am free!
“Never will a dime be paid to anyone coming at me with vicious lies! Not now not f***ing ever!
“I will fight! And I am only beginning my fight!
“I will not allow these people to just accuse me and then disappear into the dark to attempt to ruin someone else’s life! No f***ing way!”
McGregor’s sentiment was echoed by his manager, Audie Attar, a few days earlier.
In a statement to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Attar said: “I am irate and putting out a warning loud and clear: Conor McGregor is not and will not be a target for those seeking to score a headline or a payday.”
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