Conor McGregor says it's possible he will return to the UFC before the year is over.
In an interview with Ariel Helwani that aired Thursday on SportsCenter, McGregor said he is "eager" to make his UFC return as he recovers from a broken left hand. He said it was "true" that he is planning to fight at some point in 2019, but it's unclear if his timeline will allow him to enter the Octagon again.
The UFC had planned for McGregor to return against Justin Gaethje at Madison Square Garden last month until he suffered the hand injury. The 31-year-old says he eventually wants a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov but did not have a preference for an opponent for his return bout.
"I want my world title back; I want that redemption," McGregor said. "The camp was incorrect. I've learned so much on that."
McGregor has not fought since being submitted by Khabib at UFC 229 in October. He served a six-month suspension for the post-fight melee between his and Khabib's camp, for which the lightweight champion was banned nine months.
McGregor previously said the only way he would return to UFC is if his next fight contract included a stake in the company. He has since backed off that stance and told Helwani it is not a requirement.
The former multidivisional champion also addressed recent video of him punching a man at a bar in April, saying he regretted his actions. He said he felt as if his recent behavior was putting his family's future at risk.
"So, if I have this opportunity before me, if I don't execute this and get this right, make this happen for the children of my children's children, all of my successes, all of everything I've achieved will be void, will be meaningless to me," McGregor said. "I must get this right and I must not go down that path, the written path, the cliche of the fighter that has it all and ruins [it]. I need to be aware of my past, of the past of other individuals, and learn from it and grow and that's what I'm doing."
McGregor said he made amends with the man. Ireland's national police are investigating the incident.