McGregor hasn’t been in action since his second defeat of 2021 at UFC 264 last July, a setback that marked the end of his presence in the cage for some time. Having been knocked out by Dustin Poirier in January, the Irishman suffered a broken leg six months later when the pair completed their trilogy.
Now, nearly eight months beyond his gruesome injury, McGregor has stepped up talk of a return. Having kept fans updated on his recovery and return to training, McGregor has suggested he’ll come back with a vengeance later this year.
But despite riding a two-fight skid into 2022 and losing three of his last four outings, it’s seeming increasingly likely that we could see the “Notorious” megastar compete with gold on the line immediately.
Dana White appeared to confirm as much in a recent interview, during which he suggested McGregor’s return opponent will depend on who the champion is at the time and what they want to do.
“We will see what’s what with the lightweight division,” said White to The Underground. “It’s going to depend on who the champion is when Conor McGregor comes back, they have a say in it. What do they want to do? If it’s Oliveira who is still champion when Conor comes back, maybe Oliveira wants Conor we will see then.”
Having revealed the promotion’s plan to re-book Islam Makhachev vs. Beneil Dariush in the summer rather than grant the Dagestani the next shot after Justin Gaethje, it seems the stars are beginning to line favorably for the former two-division titleholder.
That will especially be the case if Oliveira retains the gold at UFC 274. The Brazilian has already approved McGregor’s request for a championship opportunity. A Gaethje victory, meanwhile, would perhaps prove trickier for the Dubliner.
White Tells McGregor Detractors To “Calm Down”
Following White’s latest comments, a wave of backlash was sent his way by some fans and pundits, many of whom suggested an immediate title shot for McGregor would be a ludicrous decision.
But according to the UFC President, being annoyed by it is even more ludicrous.
During a recent appearance on My Mom’s Basement with Robbie Fox, White responded to those slamming his recent remarks. After suggesting the media was to blame for asking about McGregor in the first place, the 52-year-old branded those frustrated by the possibility of a McGregor title shot as “idiots.”
“The problem is, every time I do a f*cking interview, all anybody wants to ask is, ‘You think Conor McGregor will get a f*cking title shot?’ That’s all they f*cking ask,” said White. “So, I’m gonna say, ‘Well Conor McGregor isn’t anywhere near coming back yet, so I don’t know, let’s see what happens..’ It’s a dumb f*cking question for the media to ask, but the media asks dumb f*cking sh*t all day, every day. That’s what happens.
“And anybody who’s p*ssed off because Conor might f*cking get (a title shot), you’re a f*cking idiot too. If that p*sses you off, Jesus Christ. Calm down, buddy,” concluded White.
Having consistently announced his intention to return straight back into the title picture this year, White’s remarks will certainly be encouraging for the Irishman. However, it will also serve as another reminder of the overriding importance of star power, even over rankings and form.
Do you think Conor McGregor should return from injury straight into a title fight?