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Conor McGregor ‘Confident’ He’ll Be Back After Withdrawing from UFC 303

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While Conor
McGregor’s absence from mixed martial arts will now extend
beyond three years, the Irishman remains optimistic regarding his
future.

The former two-division champion released a statement on Saturday
addressing his withdrawal from the UFC 303
headliner against Michael
Chandler. The June 29 welterweight bout was expected to be
McGregor’s first Octagon appearance since breaking his leg in a
loss to Dustin
Poirier at UFC 264 in July 2021.

“Very tough to be ruled out of my scheduled return bout,” McGregor
wrote on social media. “I picked up an injury prior to the press
conference that required more time to heal than was available to
me. The decision to postpone the fight was not made lightly, but
one made in consultation with my doctors, the UFC, and my team. My
fans and opponent deserve me at my best for this fight and we will
get there! Thank you for the messages of support, I am in good
spirits and confident I’ll be back!”

The exact nature of McGregor’s injury remains unclear. Speculation
that the UFC 303 headliner might be in jeopardy began when the
aforementioned press conference in Dublin was
canceled less than 24 hours before the event. While MMA
journalist Ariel Helwani reported that there was initially some hope that the
original UFC 303 main event could remain intact, it was ultimately
determined that McGregor would not be healthy enough to compete in
time for International Fight Week.

As a result, Chandler was also pulled from the card. The bout is
expected to be rebooked at a later date. However, it is unknown
exactly when that might be. Chandler also recently reacted to the
cancellation on social media.

“[Conor McGregor] was never the safe bet as an opponent, he was
always the highest risk. Maybe the highest reward… but the biggest
opportunity. There is no right or wrong in business… you only take
risk to grow, or remain comfortable where you are. Embrace the
uncertainty. Seek the opportunity. Take calculated risk… That’s
what [Michael Chandler] does,” read a statement from Chandler in
conjunction with sponsor Megafit Meals.

“And if it doesn’t go as planned… redirect the course to
something even more great. Our respect to the man who represents
the fight world better than anyone we’ve ever known. NO FEAR. NO
LIMITS. NO EXCUSES. Make hard work your passion – who cares who’s
on the other side of the punch.”

In the meantime, the Las Vegas-based promotion did well to
salvage the UFC 303 pay-per-view draw on short notice. A light
heavyweight championship rematch pitting Alex
Pereira against Jiri
Prochazka was announced as the new main event, while a
featherweight clash between Brian
Ortega and Diego Lopes
was also added to the card. Additionally, Anthony
Smith stepped in to replace the injured Jahamal Hill and face
Carlos
Ulberg in another 205-pound pairing.

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