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Conor McGregor says UFC return is finally set: ‘This summer, the Mac is back’

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At last, Conor McGregor seemingly has a date for his UFC return.

Speaking Wednesday on The MMA Hour, McGregor stated that he and the UFC have formally agreed on plans for his long-discussed but oft-delayed comeback fight.

“The call has been made and we’re a go,” McGregor said on The MMA Hour.

“This means this summer, the Mac is back. So with I’m happy with my time I’ve got in the lead-up to it, I’m happy with where I’m at, and everything just works out in God’s name. And I’m ecstatic where I’m at. I’ve got great news the other day.”

McGregor, 35, has been linked to a return bout against Michael Chandler since coaching on The Ultimate Fighter 31 in early 2023. After a long, drawn-out saga, the former two-division champ announced the matchup on New Year’s Eve for June 29 at the UFC’s annual International Fight Week pay-per-view. UFC CEO Dana White subsequently denied those claims, however, and maintained that there was nothing on the books. White reiterated that sentiment several times in recent months, stating that he did not know when — or if — McGregor would return, citing McGregor’s wealth as a complicating factor in the situation.

McGregor has not competed since suffering a broken leg in his July 2021 loss to Dustin Poirier, but has repeatedly voiced his displeasure about not being booked by the UFC.

McGregor on Wednesday declined to reveal whether June 29 remains the date and instead said he’d allow UFC to announce the details. Other specifics such as rounds and weight class have also not been determined, McGregor said, but “The Notorious” still holds out hope that his comeback only serves as the first step of a two-fight year for him in 2024.

“Look at Anthony Joshua right now, with consistency. I was watching ringside, I watched — boom, boom, boom, sharper each time,” McGregor said. “Look at [Joseph] Parker … amazing warrior of a man, amazing boxer, look at him — boom, boom, boom. Consistency breeds quality. So I’m coming in here, years out of the game.

“Now I’m sparring and fighting and I feel good and sharp, but I’m going to have to get my in-league sharpness, and that’s going to have to come through the things. So the weight has no been discussed. I know I had that little buzz — I haven’t discussed the weight. To be honest, I haven’t jumped on weigh-in scales since the [Dustin Poirier] fight, the last fight. Since I weighed in on the last one, I have not touched the scales, not once. So I don’t even [know], I’ll have to go through all that. And then rounds, maybe I might say them, ‘Look, I’m just going three rounds, lads, for this one, and I want to just wet my beak.’

“Because I’ll do three three rounds really nicely now. And rather than pushing through to get to five — it’s just, I feel if I push right now to walk toward five full fitness rounds, I feel like the first three rounds wouldn’t be as sharp as I could get them. So I’d rather sharpen the blade of three, and go in nice and sharp and fresh, get the feel, get the fight. Chandler is going to come for it, Chandler is going to come at me, he’s going to want to try and engage and come at me. He’s going to have to, and that’s his style. So I think three is a lovely one.”

McGregor is currently promoting his role in the upcoming Road House remake alongside Jake Gyllenhaal, which premieres exclusively on Amazon Prime on March 21, but vowed to turn his full focus to preparing for his UFC return as soon as the press tour ends.

“I can’t act the bollocks now,” McGregor said. “That’s the thing. [Before this] you’re f****** flat out and I’m doing these camps, but nothing’s really there, so it’s kind of like the old temptation — my lovely Proper 12 Irish whiskey, my lovely port stout, my lovely penchant for a bit of madness and a bit of nice music in my ears and dancing and all the rest of it. And now I have to tighten up. I’m going in there, the man’s going to trying to be swinging bombs at me, so it’s great for me. It’s great for me and I’m excited and I can’t wait. Like I said, I got the sparring going straightaway, felt nice, trained today, and onwards we go.”

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