Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who also held gold at 145 pounds, posted his return to the ring on Thursday, his first live sparring session since suffering a catastrophic leg break against Dustin Poirier in the UFC 264 pay-per-view (PPV) main event last summer in Las Vegas.
The fact that McGregor is geared up in boxing equipment and sparring inside the ring had many fans questioning if his combat sports return would be in the “sweet science” instead of mixed martial arts (MMA). Remember that “Notorious” was using Poirier — a southpaw — as a tune-up fight for a potential Manny Pacquiao bout, but his failure to train anything but traditional boxing left him open for “The Diamond’s” crushing leg kicks.
That led to a knockout loss at UFC 257, a rematch at UFC 264, and a broken bone.
No word yet on when McGregor will officially see action. Late 2021 is a possibility but a more realistic timeline — based on the degree of the injury — would be first quarter or second quarter 2023. “Mystic Mac” turns 34 in July and certainly doesn’t need the money from competing, so his first fight back could be make-or-break for his career.
No pun intended.