Conor McGregor has ambitious plans for his UFC return.
The former two-division champion, who hasn’t fought since suffering a devastating broken leg in his most recent outing against Dustin Poirier in 2021, has long been expected to clash with fellow The Ultimate Fighter 31 coach Michael Chandler in his next bout. It appears that is still the plan with McGregor now teasing his comeback before the end of 2023.
“December – [Michael] Chandler, I have to do it,” McGregor told TalkSport on Saturday. “I’ve just got to grab him by the chest [and smack him]. That’s what I’ve got to do.”
McGregor’s ambitious plan to fight in December will certainly raise a few eyebrows, especially because he still hasn’t been drug tested under the UFC’s anti-doping program this year.
Under the current rules with the testing program administered by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, fighters who drop out of the pool but remain under UFC contract — usually due to retirement — have to undergo at least six months of testing before being allowed to compete again.
That six-month period can be waived with an exemption, but the only time that’s happened since the UFC partnered with USADA was in 2016, when ex-heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar was allowed to compete at UFC 200. Lesnar subsequently tested positive for a banned substance. His win against Mark Hunt was overturned to a no-contest, and he served a one-year suspension for the infraction.
If McGregor is actually going to fight in December, the UFC would have to offer him the save waiver as Lesnar to skip the six months of required testing.
Whether or not he’s fighting before the end of 2023, McGregor definitely has an outline for his future, hoping Chandler is just the first of three marquee matchups.
“Chandler next in December and then [Justin] Gaethje, BMF and then we’ll do the Nate [Diaz] trilogy,” McGregor said.
McGregor has spent a lot of time lately calling for a fight against Justin Gaethje after Gaethje scored an emphatic head-kick knockout of Poirier at UFC 291. He’s finally abandoned that plan for his next fight, but he hasn’t forgotten about an eventual showdown with Gaethje in the future.
Of course, McGregor vs. Diaz 3 has been a matchup both fighters have been talking about since they split a pair of fights back in 2016. In their first encounter, Diaz shocked the world with a second-round rear-naked choke submission to finish McGregor. The Irish superstar got his revenge with a majority decision victory in a rematch five months later.
McGregor has always planned on finishing the trilogy, while Diaz continues to tout his eventual return to the UFC after leaving the promotion in free agency, which eventually led to his recent boxing match against Jake Paul.
But MMA isn’t McGregor’s only interest. After watching Matchroom Boxing’s Saturday event featuring Anthony Joshua’s brutal knockout victory, he got in the ring to call out influencer KSI for a bare-knuckle boxing match.
Here is McGregor’s callout.
It wasn’t long before KSI responded mockingly to McGregor’s callout.
Lmao just seen this. Jake Paul must be crying that I’ve got Connor on my dick already and I didn’t even have to fight an mma fighter