Conor McGregor made a big deal of announcing his retirement from the world of MMA earlier this year, but fans remained hopeful that he would change his mind. After all, the Irish fighter has a habit of retiring and then returning to the Octagon — and he could be doing exactly that as early as next year, according to Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White.
"I think McGregor is gonna come back at the beginning of next year," White told Rich Eisen during an interview on his show this week. "So, realistically, all these guys are looking at September to see what happens with Khabib and Poirier. After that fight plays out, I think there’s gonna be a lot of movement going on."
McGregor hasn't fought since losing his UFC 229 fight to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018, a defeat which precipitated a series of anger-related incidents that marred his public image. He then injured his hand during training and needed to undergo surgery, and the recovery process has prolonged his absence. McGregor has remained vocal about his willingness to return to UFC, provided he be given an ownership stake — even going so far as to challenge stakeholder Mark Wahlberg to a fight.
He'll be fighting fit by 2020, though, and McGregor's coach John Kavanagh recently told ESPN that he has a fresh outlook following his recent troubles. "I think what has come back around is the love of the sport," Kavanagh said. "He loves doing it, he loves training, he loves competing... So that’s what’s really come back into him since the beginning of the year. That’s what I wanted to see... You wouldn’t want to see him doing something just for the sake of doing it and maybe getting hurt or whatever because he’s not fully there. But now he absolutely is."
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