UFC CEO, Dana White has revealed that he expects to see former two-weight champion, Conor McGregor competing under the promotion’s banner next year rather than this annum – despite calls from the Dubliner to headline UFC 296 on December 16. against Michael Chandler.

McGregor, a former undisputed lightweight and featherweight champion under the banner of the UFC, most recently headlined UFC 264 back in July 2021, suffering a fractured tibia and fibula in a first round doctor’s stoppage TKO loss to Dustin Poirier in the pair’s trilogy rubber match.

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And serving as an opposing coach on The Ultimate Fighter 31 earlier this year, McGregor, 35, took on the above-mentioned one-time lightweight title challenger, Chandler, with the duo floated as competing opposite each other at the welterweight limit at the end of the reality television series finale. 

Conor McGregor expected to fight as soon as next year, per Dana White

However, touted as “sharp” and “ready” to make a return to the Octagon – as soon as December at UFC 296 in December, McGregor’s desire to compete at the final flagship event of the year for the promotion, won’t line up with UFC leader, White’s timeline.

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“He’s (Conor McGregor) back in the gym, he’s training,” Dana White told Piers Morgan during a recent interview. “I expect to see Conor fighting next year.”

In the midst of a two-fight losing skid for the first time in his professional career, ex-two-weight champion, McGregor suffered his first-ever knockout loss in mixed martial arts competition back in January of 2021, dropping a second round stoppage loss to Poirier in Abu Dhabi, UAE. 

Welcoming a slew of fights in his return – including a potential BMF title fight with newly-minted champion, Justin Gaethje, Dublin native, McGregor recently took in multiple sparring sessions alongside undefeated welterweight contender, Ian Machado Garry. 

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Do you expect to see Conor McGregor compete in the UFC next year?