Conor McGregor’s Uncertain UFC Return Depends On Two Things

Conor McGregor
Image Credit: Phillip Massey/Getty Images

As usual, Conor McGregor’s next UFC return remains unknown.

The former UFC two-division champ was recently sent down the pound-for-pound rankings to the point he’s nearly out of the top 15. Many wonder why “The Notorious” is still on that distinguished list at all. He hasn’t fought since his fourth-round submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at last October’s UFC 229. McGregor’s last UFC win was way back in November 2016, but he stays relevant on popularity alone.

Pieces In Motion

There’ve been endless rumblings about comeback fights for McGregor – including this potentially great one – yet it seems he’ll only return for a rematch with ‘The Eagle.’ That could be tough to justify, however. Nurmagomedov will defend his title against interim champion Dustin Poirier at September 7’s UFC 242 from Abu Dhabi. Further complicating matters, McGregor’s longtime rival Nate Diaz will face off against former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis at this Saturday’s UFC 241.

So in reality, McGregor’s UFC return is as uncertain as it ever has been, if there even is one. UFC President Dana White certainly didn’t shed any new light on it either. Speaking after his ‘Contender Series’ from Las Vegas last night via MMA Junkie, White said it all depended on the results of the two aforementioned bouts:

“I don’t know. That, I don’t know. See how Saturday goes, see how September goes, and then see what happens with Conor.”

Many Options Available

White recently hinted that Khabib vs. McGregor II could be next following UFC 242. But he also followed that up by claiming that former interim champion Tony Ferguson is actually next up for a lightweight title shot before McGregor is.

Of course, things often change rapidly in the UFC. And this situation is very much a fluid one without any real direction. As White insists, we’ll have to see what happens at both UFC 241 and UFC 242. There’s always the possibility that McGregor signs up for his long-rumored trilogy fight with Diaz, and even an outside chance he possibly squares off with Pettis. Yet we all know he’s looking to fight for the belt – if he even does return to fighting.

Based on his burgeoning Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey sales, he doesn’t need to ever fight again.

Will there ever be clarity surrounding the mess that is Conor McGregor’s rumored UFC return?