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
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.
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.