Despite continued uncertainty regarding his fighting future, Conor McGregor has been backed to make good on an expected return to active competition before the end of the year – as he chases “further greatness” according to UFC play-by-play lead, Jon Anik.
McGregor, a former undisputed lightweight and featherweight champion, has been sidelined since he headlined UFC 264 back in July of 2021, suffering a fractured left tibia and fibula en route to a first round doctor’s stoppage TKO loss against former interim gold holder, Dustin Poirier.
Sidelined in the time since, Crumlin striker, Conor McGregor has featured as an opposing coach on The Ultimate Fighter 31 this year, coaching opposite one-time lightweight title challenger, Michael Chandler – with the duo expected to feature at the welterweight limit before the close of this year.
Suggesting his return may come before the end of the year – potentially at an earmarked UFC 296 event in December, Conor McGregor’s comeback had been cast into further doubt by promotional leader, Dana White, who claimed it was proving difficult to “reel” the Dubliner back in.
“We have a massive roster fo people that want to come in and people that are ready to fight and people that want to be Conor McGregor,” Dana White told assembled media following UFC Vegas 74. “And be at that level. It’s like for the last 20 years everybody said, ‘Oh my God, what are you guys going to do when Chuck Liddell retires? You guys are f*cked. Oh my God. GSP. Anderson Silva. This and that.’”
“First of all, Conor called me a couple of days ago and loved the first episode of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and saying how happy he was to be a part of it,” White explained. “And I think being here and part of the environment and everything else, he felt it again and felt like he wants to get back to fight. The one thing you guys have to understand is this kid has so much money. It’s like Khabib now. These guys got sh*tloads of money and it’s hard to reel these guys in and get them to get in and fight.”
Jon Anik calls for patience on the return of UFC star, Conor McGregor
However, according to the above-mentioned, Anik, McGregor will likely feature twice before next summer inside the Octagon – in search of further success in mixed martial arts.
“The one place for Conor (McGregor) to sort of scratch the competitive edge that he’s trying to scratch is in the Octagon,” Jon Anik told Chamaktar Sandhu during a recent interview. “It’s not bare knuckle boxing, with respect. It’s nowhere else. It’s not in a boxing ring. And I would softly remind everyone that had he not broken his leg, we probably already would have seen him at least once if not twice more. I really do believe him at his word when he suggested he wants to be in an active competition cycle in the UFC.”
“… I think we get him (Conor McGregor) fourth quarter, and dependent upon the result, I think you absolutely get him again first quarter, second quarter of 2024,” Anik continued. “I feel liike he’s chasing further greatness. And I know he has more money then he even ever expected that he would have, but how much is he going to enjoy his retirement, if he doesn’t get a few more scalps in MMA.”