Conor McGregor is preparing to make a return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Octagon in mid-2022 after suffering a nasty leg break in his second loss to Dustin Poirier (see it here). While some may believe the Irishman’s best days are behind him, Dana White thinks otherwise.
During a recent extensive interview with ESPN, White talked about McGregor’s looming return and whether or not he feels he still has the same drive to become the fighter he once was.
“The thing I’ve been saying about him and I’ll always say about him is the guy has plenty of money, but he still is super passionate about fighting,” White said. “He’s fired up to come back and he’s out there doing everything he needs to do to get himself ready to perform again.
“He’s telling me this, and you can see it in all of his [social media] posts and the way he’s acting,” he added, before predicting when his biggest money-maker would likely return.
Furthermore, the outspoken president spoke on the possibility of “Notorious” competing for an immediate title shot, which McGregor has been campaigning for all over social media, going as far as calling out current Lightweight division kingpin, Charles Oliveira.
“If everything goes right with the healing of his leg, he’ll be back this summer. I have no idea what the landscape is going to look like by the time he comes back. Dustin Poirier could be retired by the time McGregor comes back,” he added. “I don’t know [if he could fight for the title right away when he comes back]. I won’t know the answer until it gets closer.”
As it stands, Justin Gaethje is the first man in line to challenge “Do Bronx” sometime in the first quarter of the New Year. That means by the time McGregor makes his highly-anticipated return the title could change hands.
If that’s the case, “Notorious” will have a tough time trying to convince “Highlight” to give him a title fight since the knockout machine has already stated McGregor would have to prove himself with a win or two before he’d give him the chance. If Oliveira is still king, well then McGregor’s chances of fighting for the strap are looking pretty good.
Of course, there are still several big-money fights available for the former UFC “champ-champ,” including a trilogy fight against Nate Diaz. It’s a fight White says has a better chance of happening when discussing Diaz’s own future with the promotion in 2022.
“The trilogy with McGregor is always there. That fight could happen. We could make that fight,” said White while confirming Nate has only one fight remaining on his current deal and is looking to offer him a big fight.
Of course, convincing the Stockton slugger to take the fight might not be a sure thing.