While there is no official timeline in place, former UFC champion Conor McGregor is planning a return to mixed martial arts (MMA).
Despite recent legal troubles that could prolong the Irishman’s absence from competition, it’s extremely likely that McGregor pushes through his out-of-cage issues, patches things up with the promotion, and steps foot back inside of the Octagon in 2018. At least that’s what most fight fans are hoping for, whether you want to see “Notorious” win or lose in his return.
McGregor’s striking coach, Owen Roddy, recently discussed the Irishman’s impending comeback in an exclusive interview with Express Sport, stating that the UFC cash cow is eager to get back into action.
“Just to have him back in the cage, I think that’s more important than anything else. He’s training, he’s looking good,” Roddy said.
“We can’t really talk about when he wants to return. But he’s adamant he’s getting back.”
Once McGregor returns to the UFC fold, the promotion will get back its biggest star of all time. UFC has operated nicely without McGregor and would continue to do so should “Notorious” not return, but getting him back could mean very big things.
“For me, the sooner (he’s back) the better. The UFC is really missing Conor, I believe,” Roddy said. “And I think everybody is missing the whole extravaganza of a Conor McGregor fight. There’s nothing like it in the world.”
“And I think the people in the world want to see it again. The sooner the better.”
Based on McGregor’s pay-per-view (PPV) numbers from past fights, Roddy isn’t simply blowing smoke. The 29-year-old superstar is the biggest draw in combat sports today and many fight fans follow his every step on a day-to-day basis. Getting him back inside of the cage would only bring his notoriety and recognition to greater heights.
But who should McGregor fight in his return? There are a plethora of available options for the Irishman, including UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, nemesis Nate Diaz, surging UFC featherweight titleholder Max Holloway, and even UFC welterweight king Tyron Woodley.
”There’s no indication of who it will be, but it doesn’t really matter, to be honest,” Roddy said. “I’ve said this before: The draw is Conor. The opponent is just somebody there to go in against him.”
“It’s whatever fight makes sense,” he added. “The biggest draw will get the chance to fight Conor.”
Considering Nurmagomedov is an undefeated champion who helped drive McGregor to madness earlier this month in Brooklyn, he seems like the most likely option. The fact that UFC has already booked an event in Russia later this year makes the 155-pound clash even more enticing.
All we can do now is wait and see what happens with McGregor’s felony charge, which will likely dictate when and where he fights next.