Much has been made about the exact time-table for UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor’s return, as ‘The Notorious One’ is expected to take a lengthy amount of time away from the Octagon to enjoy the birth of his first child.
UFC President Dana White has been on record stating that McGregor is not set to return to fighting action for another 10 months, and he’s not shying away from those claims now. Ahead of this weekend’s (Friday December 30, 2016) UFC 207 pay-per-view (PPV) from Las Vegas, White again reiterated that for now ‘Mystic Mac’ is not a part of the UFC’s plans for the next 10 months:
“The last conversation that Conor and I had, he was taking 10 months off,” White said (courtesy of MMA Fighting). “So everybody keeps talking. I’m not even thinking about Conor. Conor is not in my plans for the next 10 months.
“We run a business where we make fights. I know who’s available, I know who’s not available. Right? Conor told me, ‘I’m not available for 10 months. We’re having a baby. My girl stresses out when I fight and I don’t want to put that on her while she’s pregnant.’ I love it, I respect it, I get it. Do your thing, buddy. And that’s it. He’s not in any of our plans for the next 10 months.”
McGregor got the chance to respond to White’s claims of a 10-month time-table for his return during an interview with RTE, after taking home their Sportsperson of the Year for 2016 award at the RTÉ Sport Awards (in association with Sport Ireland), and stated that he has no idea where White got the 10-month number and is still awaiting a meeting with new UFC owners Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell of WME-IMG:
“As far as a break, I don’t know,” McGregor said. “I know Dana has been on record, being like, ’10 months — he’s taking 10 months off.’ Where did you [get] 10 months?
“I just don’t know, I’m weighing up my options. But again, I expect that conversation. I expect them to fly that jet to me. Ari (Emanuel), Patrick (Whitesell), the new owners from WME-IMG, the guys that bought the UFC for $4 billion, I want to speak to them. I want to see what their plan is. Because right now I don’t know what nobody’s plan is.”
For now White will leave it at that, and states that when McGregor is ready to discuss a return to fighting action, he’ll be ready to listen:
“When Conor’s ready to talk, he knows where I am,” White said.
A 10-month timeframe means an October (or so) return for the 155-pound champ, but with ongoing talks of the UFC possibly creating an interim lightweight strap while McGregor is sidelined, one can only imagine that it would serve as motivation for ‘The Notorious One’ to come back a bit sooner.