It's the comeback announcement the fight world has been waiting for. Irish MMA superstar Conor McGregor has signaled his intent to return to the UFC, targeting Michael Chandler as his comeback opponent for UFC 296 in December.
Return Amidst Regulatory Protocols
The journey back to the octagon isn't without its hurdles for McGregor. Before he can throw another punch or kick in a sanctioned fight, McGregor must successfully clear the United States Anti-Doping Agency's (USADA) protocols.
This means he has to undergo and pass two clean tests over a span of six months. Despite these stringent requirements, the confident Irish fighter has earmarked December 16 as his comeback date. The revelation came during an interview with TalkSPORT at the recent Anthony Joshua vs Robert Helenius boxing bout in London.
“Chandler next, in December,” McGregor confirmed, after witnessing Anthony Joshua's victory at the O2 Arena. “And then Gaethje for the BMF showdown. And following that, we’ll seal the deal with the Nate Diaz trilogy”.
Eyes on Diaz: Settling Unfinished Business
One of the most riveting chapters in McGregor's illustrious career was his pair of bouts with Nate Diaz. Diaz got the better of him via submission in March 2016, but McGregor avenged that loss with a points win later in August.
Since then, fans have clamored for a tie-breaking third fight. Diaz's recent departure from the UFC in September 2022, following a win against Tony Ferguson, only added fuel to this fire. McGregor's intent was clear when he stated during The MMA Hour, “I’ll get that again.
We’ll get that trilogy at some stage for sure. It’s a great rivalry, and it was a great fight. So, we gotta square that away for sure." McGregor’s track record reinforces his words. He's been a man who has often delivered on his promises inside the octagon.
“When I say it, it happens,” he asserted. After a two-year hiatus, enforced by a broken leg sustained in his third bout against Dustin Poirier in July 2021, McGregor's hunger remains apparent. “I have a load of bouts left in me and a load of stories incomplete, and I’m excited to continue on and get them done,” he declared.