Dana White Believes Conor McGregor Could Return to UFC in 2021
Most people don't seem to believe that Conor McGregor is in fact, retired for good, and Dana White thinks the star could be back in 2021.
When Conor McGregor announced he was retiring, again, the general consensus was that the star will be back in the Octagon at some point. Well, while Dana White doesn’t think we’re going to see McGregor fighting extensively at this juncture, he does believe the former champ could be back next year.
White believes McGregor might return after other fights “play out”
McGregor jumped into the headlines after UFC 250 in June, by announcing he’s hanging up the gloves. The Irish star reported that he’s not excited by the “game” anymore, and he also expressed frustration about the fact his next bout was never signed.
Well, since McGregor has retired two other times, most people don’t believe he’s actually done. More recently White appeared on the Colin Cowherd show, and the UFC President relayed he thinks McGregor could return next year (quotes via MMA Fighting).
“As of right now, he’s retired,” White said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he came out and wanted to fight somebody next year after all these different fights play out.”
White also reported, however, that he doesn’t believe McGregor will fight that many more times, on account of how much money he’s made.
“There’s no doubt that Conor McGregor’s one of the best in the world,” White said. “What’s going on with Conor McGregor is what goes on with all professional fighters when they become extremely wealthy and Conor McGregor is rich.
“He gets to pick and choose what he wants to do now and he’s at that point in his career where he’s got a few fights left.”
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There are certainly reasons to think that White’s hunch here is right. If Justin Gaethje beats Khabib Nurmagomedov later this year, the door to McGregor fighting for the title again would fly open.
White has said McGregor has already earned a title shot, on account of his win over Donald Cerrone in January. But, Khabib’s repeatedly said his rival will need to record several big wins, before he grants him a rematch.
There’s also a chance that a super fight with Jorge Masvidal could materialize, especially if ‘Gamebred’ wins the welterweight title at UFC 251.
The other piece to this, however, is the COVID-19 pandemic. On account of how much revenue McGregor generates via live gates, the UFC is likely reluctant to book him for bouts while no fans can attend.
So, if the pandemic subsides, and if the UFC is able to hold events in stadiums next year, that could also help draw McGregor back.