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Dana White reveals how new plan for UFC 249 will impact Conor McGregor’s future

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Conor McGregor Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Following his win over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in January, Conor McGregor made it clear that he wanted to keep an active schedule with plans to compete at least three times in 2020.

Now less than four months later, the Irish superstar is still awaiting his next fight and plans for his return may have just been made even more complicated.

After lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was forced to pull out of UFC 249, Justin Gaethje was tapped to face Tony Ferguson with an interim title on the line in the new main event on April 18.

According to UFC president Dana White, the winner of that fight will then move onto unify the title with Nurmagomedov later this year after the undefeated Russian observes Ramadan, which starts in late April.

“Everybody felt that if Conor was going to get a shot at Khabib that actually Gaethje should get it before Conor,” White said when speaking to ESPN. “I mean it couldn’t have worked out any better.

“You get Gaethje vs. Tony. It’s the fight that makes sense. It’s two of the top guys in the world. Khabib is out so the winner will face Khabib.”

Unfortunately that plans leaves McGregor out in the cold when it comes to his plans to eventually work his way back to title contention as well as plotting revenge against Nurmagomedov after losing to him in 2018.

Right now, White says there’s no telling what’s next for McGregor because the UFC is dealing with an unprecedented situation while promoting fights in the middle of a global pandemic.

“This impacts everybody,” White said. “There’s three fights that have already been postponed, we’re going to work out over the next several weeks and I don’t know where this puts anybody.

“Conor really wants that rematch with Khabib. Well Khabib and Tony or Gaethje won’t fight now until probably September.”

McGregor hasn’t made any public statement since Ferguson vs. Gaethje was announced, but he’s continued to train in anticipation of his next fight.

As much as the UFC wants McGregor back in the Octagon, White says the changes made to save the April 18 card will have a ripple effect for everybody else in the lightweight division.

“Nobody saw this coming,” White said. “This is one of those things you can’t predict or see coming. It happened but we’re rolling with it and we’re going to get it figured out.”