Conor McGregor is confident he will make his return to the UFC before the end of 2023.
With The Ultimate Fighter season 31 set to debut on May 30, there’s still no official date for McGregor’s expected showdown against fellow coach Michael Chandler. While the reality show will run through August, McGregor’s fight date has remained a mystery with questions still surrounding the timing because the Irish superstar still hasn’t re-entered the UFC’s anti-doping program.
McGregor is required to undergo six months of drug testing before he’s allowed to fight again but he claims that issue has already been settled and now he’s just waiting on an exact date for his comeback.
“That’s done,” McGregor responded when asked about getting back into the UFC’s anti-doping program during a media scrum on Friday. “By year end, I’m back in that cage having competed. I’m gearing up now, ready to go.
“[The fight against] Michael Chandler, it will be announced during The Ultimate Fighter. The Ultimate Fighter is airing in a couple of days on ESPN, and by the time that show finishes, we’ll have a date and it will be set for the fans.”
Based on current test history available through the United States Anti-Doping Agency that was updated on May 18, McGregor still hasn’t been tested yet in 2023, although that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not available for testing.
While the timing of that fight is still to be determined, McGregor also addressed his potential return to boxing — a move he’s talked about often since his 2017 loss to Floyd Mayweather.
McGregor is currently supporting fellow countrywoman Katie Taylor ahead of her fight in Ireland on Saturday so boxing is definitely on his mind.
When asked about possibly challenging Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who most recently dispatched mandatory challenger John Ryder in a 12-round decision, McGregor seemed up for the challenge.
“I’m a southpaw, Ryder was a southpaw, Billie Joe [Saunders] was a southpaw,” McGregor said. “I’ve seen methods, I’ve seen things I’d do and I know he’s waning. I’d fight Canelo no f****** problem. No problem.”
Before he can plan on a matchup against “Canelo” in the boxing ring, McGregor first has to make his return to the UFC with hopes that a win over Chandler could vault him back into title contention.
By the time he fights again, McGregor will have been out of action for over two years with his last fight coming in July 2021 when he suffered a broken leg in his bout with Dustin Poirier.