Dana White says that Conor McGregor will return to the cage before the end of this year. Hopefully.
The biggest star in MMA, McGregor has not competed since shattering his leg in his trilogy bout with Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 in July 2021. After a long layoff to recover, McGregor is finally ready to get back to the business of fighting, and he will do so when he takes on the man he coached against on the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter, Michael Chandler, sometime later this year.
Speaking at the UFC Vegas 73 post-fight press conference, White confirmed that fans can expect an official announcement sometime during the airing of the show.
“That’s correct [there will be an announcement during the airing of The Ultimate Fighter],” White said. “There’s a fight. He has to get into the USADA pool first. He’s filling out the paperwork. I don’t know how soon that will be done or what’s going on, but that’s his business, that he’s handling with USADA. But it’s all in motion.”
McGregor left USADA during the recovery of his leg injury and has yet to officially re-enroll in the program. As such, once he does re-enroll, McGregor will need to stay in the pool for six months before he is eligible to compete, unless the UFC grants him an exception. That does not seem to be forthcoming though, as earlier this week, McGregor said he was in the process of re-enrolling in USADA, with designs on competing near the end of the year.
If McGregor were to get back into the pool in the next few weeks, he would be free to fight in late November or December, and White confirmed that appears to be the timeline the UFC is targeting.
“That’s what we’re shooting for,” White said. “Hopefully we have a big fight in Madison Square Garden in November, and then a big fight in December.”