UFC president Dana White has revealed the promotion is in talks with Conor McGregor over a 2021 return to the Octagon. McGregor, the UFC’s first simultaneous two-weight world champion, hasn’t fought since his 40-second demolition of Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 in January.
The Irishman was hoping to have a busy 2020 after his decimation of ‘Cowboy’, setting his sights on a further two outings this year.
However, the coronavirus outbreak – as well as sour negotiations with the UFC brass – scuppered plans for his 2020 “season.
Frustrated by the direction the UFC chose for the lightweight division, McGregor opted to retire from mixed martial arts for a third time in June.
White, initially, opted to give McGregor some space and not pressure him to return.
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We’re actually working on some fun stuff for Conor at the beginning of next year
UFC president Dana White on Conor McGregor
The UFC chief, however, has recently been in contact with the promotion’s poster boy, whom he hopes will return in early 2021.
When asked to provide an update on ‘The Notorious’, White told SportsCenter: “We’re actually working on some fun stuff for Conor at the beginning of next year.
“He should be back next year. I’m not saying he’s coming back to fight guaranteed, but we’re talking about some stuff.”
Soon after White revealed the promotion have been in contact with McGregor, the Dubliner’s manager – Audie Attar – issued a statement on his client’s fighting future.
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“We had some very interesting talks with the UFC recently,” Attar told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.
”We are excited about the future and working on some fun things. Exciting things to come in the near future.”
The UFC’s tentative plans to have McGregor return next year could potentially be hindered by legal issues for the 32-year-old.
Last week, the former featherweight and lightweight champion was arrested and questioned in Corsica following an allegation of an “attempted sexual assault”.
Both McGregor and his management have vociferously denied the allegation.
In a lengthy post on his private Facebook account, Ireland’s first UFC champion defiantly said: “Never will I fold! The truth is the truth and it gives me wings!
“I know my character! God bless DNA! God bless Cctv! God bless Eye witness! God bless the truth! The truth is power! I am free!
“Never will a dime be paid to anyone coming at me with vicious lies! Not now not f***ing ever!
“I will fight! And I am only beginning my fight!
“I will not allow these people to just accuse me and then disappear into the dark to attempt to ruin someone else’s life! No f***ing way!”
Attar said: “I am irate and putting out a warning loud and clear: Conor McGregor is not and will not be a target for those seeking to score a headline or a payday.”
McGregor, 22-4, made his UFC debut in April 2013 and has amassed a record of ten victories and two defeats.
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