Conor McGregor’s Return Date Hinted in Recent Major UFC Announcement

UFC President Dana White has seemingly quashed rumours that Conor McGregor would make his return to the Octagon in December at UFC 296.

“Notorious” hasn’t fought since suffering a broken leg in his second straight loss to Dustin Poirier in 2021, but had seemed confident he would make his return at the end of this year against Michael Chandler.

White did not include McGregor, however, when he announced the headline bout for the upcoming UFC 296 event in December, although he did say that more fights were to be announced.

In a video on social media, White confirmed that Britain’s Leon Edwards will defend the welterweight title against Colby Covington in the UFC 296 main event in Las Vegas. Covington is a former interim champion.

He also revealed that Alex Pereira vs Jiri Prochazka will be the co-main event for UFC 295 in New York in November, as the pair clash over the vacant light-heavyweight title. Pereira is a former middleweight champion, while Prochazka won the light-heavyweight title in 2021 but vacated it due to injury later that year.

Irishman McGregor missed the deadline for re-enrollment into the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (Usada) testing pool in July, which made his return this year questionable, given fighters must be in this pool for a minimum of six months before they can fight.

Brock Lesnar was famously given an exemption to this rule in 2016 when he returned for UFC 200, but the official UFC-Usada policy states this can only be for “exceptional circumstances or where the strict application of that rule would be manifestly unfair to an athlete”.

It now looks like McGregor’s long-awaited return will have to wait until 2024, when his fight with Chandler may precede bouts against Justin Gaethje and Nate Diaz.

The 35 year-old’s current gap between fights is the longest since he made his UFC debut in 2013.

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