The former champion across two weight classes, who has not seen action inside the octagon since his agonizing broken leg injury during his last fight against Dustin Poirier in 2021, has been hinting at facing Michael Chandler, his fellow coach on The Ultimate Fighter 31, in his next match. It seems this plan is still on track as McGregor is teasing his return before the close of 2023.
Speaking to TalkSport on Saturday, McGregor affirmed, “In December, I have to face Chandler. I’ve simply got to seize him and attack. That’s my strategy.”
As per the existing guidelines managed by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, fighters who leave the testing pool while still under UFC contract, often due to retirement, are required to pass through at least six months of testing before being eligible to fight again.
The only exception to this six-month period was in 2016 when former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar received an exemption, enabling him to fight at UFC 200. Lesnar subsequently failed a drug test, his win was changed to a no-contest, and he faced a one-year suspension.
For McGregor to take part in a fight in December, the UFC would have to grant him the same exemption that Lesnar received to avoid the mandated six months of testing.
Regardless of whether he fights before the end of 2023, McGregor has sketched out his future. He envisions that Chandler is just the beginning of three prominent fights.
“Chandler next in December, followed by [Justin] Gaethje, BMF, and finally the Nate [Diaz] trilogy,” McGregor laid out his plans.
Recently, McGregor has been vocal about wanting to fight Justin Gaethje after Gaethje’s dramatic knockout victory over Poirier at UFC 291. Though he has set that idea aside for his next fight, he has not ruled out a future clash with Gaethje.
The third match between McGregor and Diaz has been a subject of discussion ever since they exchanged wins in 2016. In their first bout, Diaz stunned everyone with a submission victory, but McGregor evened the score with a decision win five months afterward. Both fighters have been planning the trilogy, and Diaz’s return to the UFC after leaving in free agency is highly anticipated.
But McGregor’s interests aren’t confined to MMA. After witnessing Anthony Joshua’s remarkable knockout win in a recent Matchroom Boxing event, he challenged the internet personality KSI to a bare-knuckle boxing match.
McGregor’s callout quickly reached KSI, who responded with amusement, writing, “Lmao just seen this. Jake Paul must be crying that I’ve got Conor interested, and I didn’t even have to fight an MMA fighter.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Conor McGregor
What are Conor McGregor’s plans for his UFC return?
Who has McGregor called out for a bare-knuckle boxing match?
McGregor has called out the internet personality KSI for a bare-knuckle boxing match.
Has McGregor been drug tested under the UFC’s anti-doping program this year?
No, McGregor has not been drug tested under the UFC’s anti-doping program this year, raising concerns about his proposed timeline for fighting in December.
What was the reaction of KSI to McGregor’s callout?
KSI responded mockingly to McGregor’s callout, expressing amusement and taking a jab at Jake Paul in his response.
What is the precedent for McGregor potentially skipping six months of required testing before his fight?
The only precedent for skipping the six months of required testing was in 2016 when ex-heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar was allowed to compete at UFC 200, after which he tested positive for a banned substance.
Who else is McGregor interested in fighting in the UFC?
Besides Michael Chandler, McGregor has expressed interest in fighting Justin Gaethje and completing a trilogy with Nate Diaz.
What happened in McGregor’s last fight in the UFC?
In his most recent UFC outing against Dustin Poirier in 2021, McGregor suffered a devastating broken leg, which has kept him out of the ring since.