Conor McGregor announces UFC return after backing down from second retirement
Conor McGregor has announced that he will return to mixed martial arts in January with a UFC fight in Las Vegas, although UFC president Dana White has since cast doubt over whether a deal has been done.
White said that although the organisation was “targeting that date for Conor’s return”, “no deals are even close to being signed”.
Despite that, the 31-year-old Irish fighter said he would return to the octagon “fully focused” on January 18.
“I would like to announce to the public the return of the notorious Conor McGregor will take place on January 18th in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada,” McGregor said.
“That is my comeback fight,” McGregor said at a promotional event in Russia, apparently unperturbed by the lack of clarity from the UFC.
“If I was to give you people the name, which I would love to do, I know the UFC would flip it because they are a crafty company.”
This is not the first time that McGregor has announced a comeback from retirement.
The Irishman first ‘retired’ in 2016 ahead of a proposed title fight against Nate Diaz in March at UFC 200.
Ms White said at the time that McGregor withdrew from the event because he was in training camp in Iceland.
“Conor didn’t want to come to Las Vegas and be part of any promotional training,” White said.
“Is Conor McGregor retiring? Only he can answer that question. I don’t know.”
It turns out, he wasn’t.
That first retirement was short-lived, with the Irishman back-flipping on the idea before returning to beat Diaz later that same year.
After a couple of successful years, including a lucrative foray into boxing against Floyd Mayweather, McGregor called time on his MMA career for a second time after losing by submission to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018.
After that fight, he was banned for six months and fined $US50,000 for his part in a post-fight brawl, for which Nurmagomedov was also banned.
McGregor doubled-down on his retirement claim, this time with a more cryptic tweet outlining his stance.
However, now he is back, and targeting a rematch with Nurmagomedov as part of his “season” of fights after he takes on his as-yet-unnamed and unconfirmed opponent.
“I’m going to go through the entire roster like a chainsaw through butter,” McGregor said, adding that he would not spend time “waiting around for that man [Nurmagomedov]”, who he described as “a known pull-out” and “fearer of risk”, among other things in a typically foul-mouthed tirade.
Nurmagomedov’s father and coach, Abdulmanap, said his unbeaten son would have little difficulty defeating McGregor again.
“If he’s ready for it, then we’ll beat him up in Moscow,” Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov told Russia’s state news agency Tass.
“It won’t be a rematch, it’ll be another bout with a beating.”
McGregor’s return comes as he faces more legal issues. He is facing an assault charge in Ireland over an incident in which he appeared to punch a man in a bar.