There’s been no definitive, indication yet as to when Conor McGregor will return to the Octagon, and Dana White’s reporting the star needs to make some decisions about his future, sooner than later.
Ever since McGregor was stopped by Floyd Mayweather in their August boxing match, talk about the UFC champ’s next bout has been a regular, topic of discussion. White initially said that McGregor could return to the Octagon before 2017 ended, but more recently, the UFC President’s reported the lightweight might not fight until this coming summer.
Since McGregor’s last UFC fight went down in November, 2016, and because he hasn’t defended the lightweight title yet, there’s been mounting pressure from fans for him to do so. Especially with challengers like the interim champ Tony Ferguson, and Khabib Nurmagomedov waiting in the wings.
“I love that matchup (against Nurmagomedov), but Tony Ferguson is the interim champion, and Conor and I haven’t really figured out when he’s coming back and what’s going on,” White said. “So Conor has some big decisions to make here, really quick. If he waits — I don’t think Conor wants to fight until August, but if he waits until August or September, that’s around two years since the belt has been defended, and that can’t happen.”
“As long as Conor is willing to (book a) fight by March, we could do Khabib versus Tony,” White said. “We could do Khabib versus Tony, and then the winner fights Conor for the title. Or if Conor doesn’t want to fight and wants to sit out until next fall, then we would have to make Khabib versus Tony for the title, not the interim title.”
So, one might conclude here that the UFC is starting to run out of patience, in terms of getting McGregor back in the cage. White also relayed in the interview that it’s unfair to other contenders to have a division’s title picture put on hold, since “time is your enemy” in fighting.
White also shot down the idea that ongoing contract negotiations with McGregor are why the latter’s next bout has been delayed, but, it’s hard to imagine they’re not having some sort of impact.