It appears the Conor McGregor “season” is about to kick-off once more. The former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion, last featured at UFC 246 in January – defeating veteran striker, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, in his first Octagon appearance in over fifteen months.
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ‘The Notorious’ one is “ready to go” – at least according to promotional leader, Dana White. The 31-year-old has been campaigning for a championship re-run with arch-rival, Khabib Nurmagomedov for his next outing, however, this Saturday’s interim 155-pound title clash between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje have put brakes on that rematch for the time being.
Another possible return opponent for McGregor, was in fact, Gaethje. The two were reported to finally lock horns this summer in a highly-anticipated, potential lightweight title eliminator. That leaves speculation rife as to who could welcome the Crumlin native back to active competition.
On Monday, the aforementioned, White – speaking with former UFC featherweight contender, Dennis ‘The Menace’ Bermudez, on Menace and The Man – explained how a welterweight pairing of BMF championship winner, Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal and McGregor was a possibility. Speaking with Jim Rome on Tuesday night, White detailed how the SBG Ireland trainee was ready to return to the Octagon – briefly hinting at an appearance at ‘Fight Island’.
“Conor’s (McGregor) been ready to fight for a while,” White said. “He’s in shape. He’s ready to go. First of all, ‘Fight Island’ is going to be very important in any of these fights that are happening with people from outside the country. It kills me to do a fight with Conor without fans. Kills me. This guy’s doing almost $20 million gates.“
Speaking with Robbie Fox on the My Mom’s Basement podcast, White explained how a potential fight would happen in June or just before the beginning of July.
“He and I were texting,” White revealed. “He’s asking me what date can I fight on ‘Fight Island’ and will there be fans. Conor’s (McGregor) asking to fight. Conor wants to fight. We’re not talking about a specific opponent, but he wants to fight – there would not be fans and the fight would either be mid-June or the end of June.“
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, travel restrictions and bans on mass gatherings have seen events completely shelved recently – with the promotion announcing their plans to withdraw from their UFC 251 booking in Perth, Australia on June 6th. The promotion’s plan for ‘Fight Island’, is expected to give international and United States-based competitors the opportunity to compete. White has explained how infrastructure is being put in place for the organization to host fights on the private island, starting sometime in June.
In terms of potential opponents for McGregor – the outlook is a whole lot more blurred with the short-notice replacement of Nurmagomedov with the previously noted Gaethje. While remaining coy of a possible pairing of Masvidal and the Dubliner, White refused to put the kibosh on a welterweight title fight between reigning champion, Kamaru Usman, and ‘Gamebred’, however, detailed how the promotion had “something else” in mind for the 35-year-old Floridian.