UFC stars Conor McGregor, Sean O’Malley see plans for December fights axed as three title bouts confirmed

Conor McGregor and Sean O'Malley out until 2024 as UFC 296 title fights confirmed

Despite both tirelessly clamoring for a return to headline UFC 296 on December 16. – promotional stars, Conor McGregor and Sean O’Malley are now all but ruled out of competition until next year, with UFC CEO, Dana White confirming both headlining and co-headlining title fights for the promotion’s final flagship event of 2023.

McGregor, a former undisputed lightweight and featherweight champion under the banner of the promotion, has been sidelined since he fractured his left tibia and fibula back in July 2021, dropping a first round doctor’s stoppage TKO loss against former interim champion, Dustin Poirier.

Conor McGregor was planning a December return fight at UFC 296

However, earlier this year, Conor McGregor – who served as an opposing coach on The Ultimate Fighter 31 against Michael Chandler, announced plans for a December fight with the Missouri veteran at UFC 296 on December 16. – ultimately to no avail

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And as for Montana striker, O’Malley, the newly-minted bantamweight champion, who struck gold back in August with a spectacular second round TKO win over Aljamain Sterling in Boston, Massachusetts.

Targeting a quickfire turnaround at UFC 296 in December, Dana White’s Contender Series product, O’Malley had set sights on fighting former-foe, Marlon Vera at the end of the year, however, those plans have now been axed by the above-mentioned, White.

Overnight, the promotional leader announced the booking of three championships fights for the penultimate and final pay-per-view cards of the year.

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In November, former middleweight kingpin, Alex Pereira returns to challenge for vacant light heavyweight spoils against former division champion, Jiri Prochazka – with the striking duo co-headlining UFC 295.

And as for UFC 296, the final pay-per-view of the annum will see long-time foes, Leon Edwarda and Colby Covington in a welterweight championship affair – with a flyweight title clash containing both Alexandre Pantoja and Brandon Royval set to take co-headlining status. 

When do you expect to see Conor McGregor make a return to the UFC?