McGregor, a former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion, fought twice in 2021. After being knocked out for the first time at UFC 257 in his rematch with Dustin Poirier, the Irishman fell to a second consecutive loss to “The Diamond” six months later.
While his January defeat left the door open for a quick turnaround, his trilogy setback at UFC 264 in July did the opposite. Towards the end of the opening round, McGregor suffered a gruesome broken leg, an injury that’s kept him on the sidelines ever since.
Now nearly eight months on from his third loss in four fights, McGregor is gearing up for a comeback. And judging by Dana White’s latest comments, it appears we could see the “Notorious” megastar walk right back into the title picture.
“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.
“There are many variables for his return, number one: his health and how his leg is,” White added. “Once that is 100 per cent, we will start to figure out where he goes because we have fights up to June 18 already.” (h/t The Mac life)
Oliveira is currently set to defend his title against top contender Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 in May. Beyond that, Islam Makhachev is expected to be next in line, something White seemingly confirmed following the Dagestani’s triumph over Bobby Green last weekend.
Nevertheless, as brought up by the #4-ranked Beneil Dariush in recent months, the looming return of McGregor was always going to be a threat to the title aspirations of others in the 155-pound division.
While some would expect McGregor’s star power and previous accomplishments in the sport to grant him the kind of privilege that could see him walk straight back to the championship, others will no doubt criticize the decision to overlook other contenders.
Do you think Conor McGregor should immediately fight for gold when he returns to the Octagon?