Conor McGregor Targeting UFC Return Way Sooner Than You Think

Conor McGregor 2016


Conor McGregor might have just accepted the challenge of a world-famous boxer on Thursday, but the Irish superstar also seems interested in getting back into the UFC’s Octagon sooner than most people probably expected.

According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, McGregor could be ready to climb back into the cage again as soon as July. That tidbit of information was revealed to Helwani on Thursday by McGregor’s manager, Audie Attar, of Paradigm Sports Management.

Per that ESPN story, McGregor will be watching UFC 249 very closely this weekend to see how the company handles putting together big fights during this social distancing era of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Attar, McGregor doesn’t like the idea of fighting in an empty arena because he would rather fight in front of a large crowd; however, Attar said McGregor would consider fighting in July after being assured that the fighters and staff involved in the upcoming three shows in Florida are healthy and safe afterward.

No doubt fighting in front of a sold-out arena would be difficult for the Irish superstar to give up, but he also seems to understand the importance of sports entertainment during this trying time across the globe.

“While Conor’s desire would be to fight in front of another sold-out crowd,” Attar said, “he does understand what him fighting in an empty arena could do for people at home and would consider if he is comfortable with the way the UFC is holding these events from a health and safety standpoint.”

So, McGregor and his team will be monitoring UFC 249, as well as the next two UFC cards scheduled for May 13 and 16 events in Jacksonville, Fla., for health and safety practices and the well-being of the fighters and staff involved.

In short, McGregor has been training and is ready to fight, but he wants to be sure UFC officials can handle the health and safety of its fighters during this unprecedented time.

“Conor is very curious to see whether the health and safety of the athletes and staff are ensured,” Attar said per ESPN. “He wants to make sure everyone is taken care of properly.”

So while McGregor might be setting up a huge boxing showdown with a retired all-time great, he also seems keen on keeping his MMA career on track this year.

In January, McGregor had returned to MMA for the first time since October 2018 to stop Donald Cerrone in the first round at UFC 246.

After that 40-second drubbing of the all-time leader in UFC wins, McGregor promised to stay active during 2020.

But the coronavirus pandemic may have delayed McGregor’s return to the UFC, or at least it seemed to keep him from announcing his next fight as soon as most people expected.

Now, it seems that the UFC’s most popular fighter could be on his way back this summer.

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Twitter: @Kelsey_McCarson