Conor McGregor squares up to former UFC champion ahead of comeback

Irish MMA superstar Conor McGregor, who hasn’t stepped into the cage since his defeat by Dustin Poirier in 2021, is set to make a thrilling return to the Octagon in 2024 against Michael Chandler. However, he’s been seen squaring up to another fighter in former bantamweight champion Petr Yan.

McGregor re-started USADA drug testing last month as he prepares to take on Chandler next summer. But the Irishman appeared to tease a potential fight with former UFC bantamweight champion Yan in a tense but playful face-off at the IBA Night of Champions in Dubai.

The pair were seen stepping into the ring and squaring up, held apart by the IBA’s president. Yan, who has a fight record of 16-5-0, last fought in March when he lost to Merab Dvalishvili. He gave McGregor a stern look as they squared up.

While it’s unlikely that these two will fight, they seemed to exchange some banter when a microphone was placed between them. This comes after the pair had a bit of a spat on social media, with Yan challenging McGregor after the Irishman claimed in 2021 that he would ‘rip him up’.

Yan responded: “Conor, we all know that you like to talk, but let’s get straight to the point if you really want to box or fight, I don’t care about the weight or the rules. I bet you won’t show up.”

After a few moments, they both started laughing and hugged each other.

The Russian fighter has faced defeat in three of his recent bouts and currently doesn’t have a match scheduled after pulling out of a fight with Song Yadong this past weekend.

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UFC president Dana White revealed in November McGregor is expected to return in July – ruling him out of fighting at UFC 300 in April which had been rumored.

McGregor is highly expected to face Chandler, with him set to move up to the welterweight division after being seen much heavier than what he’d been over the last decade.

An AI tool was used to add an extra layer to the editing process for this story.

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