Conor McGregor Says He's 'Very Close' to Announcing UFC Return Fight

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2019

FILE - In this Oct. 5, 2018, file photo, Conor McGregor poses during a ceremonial weigh-in for the UFC 229 mixed martial arts fight in Las Vegas.  Superstar UFC fighter McGregor has announced on social media that he is retiring from mixed martial arts. McGregor’s verified Twitter account had a post early Tuesday, March 26, 2019,  that said the former featherweight and lightweight UFC champion was making a “quick announcement.”(AP Photo/John Locher, File)
John Locher/Associated Press

Conor McGregor said Wednesday that an announcement regarding his UFC return bout is set to drop in the near future.

According to ESPN's Marc Raimondi, McGregor revealed the news during a press conference in Ukraine as part of a promotional tour through Eastern Europe: "We're very close to announcing it, not just yet. But surely over the course of this trip we should have an announcement. That's what we're aiming for."

The 31-year-old McGregor retired from UFC in March, but it was long assumed that he was simply taking a break and planned to return at some point.

McGregor, who is a former UFC Featherweight and Lightweight champion, has not fought since dropping a Lightweight title bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov by fourth-round submission at UFC 229 in October 2018.

Before that, McGregor hadn't fought since beating Eddie Alvarez by second-round knockout at UFC 205 in November 2016. A big reason for that inactivity was McGregor's decision to dabble in boxing, which saw him lose to Floyd Mayweather Jr. by 10th-round TKO in August 2017.

During Wednesday's press conference, McGregor said he wants to fight more often when he returns to UFC in order to avoid rust:

"I used to fight every couple of weeks, really, before the UFC came, then it was every couple of months. Now the politics of the prize got involved, and it's almost, I fight one and then I go off. I do not like that. You can't be like that in this game. I must continue.

"Consistency is another word. You must be consistent. Once we get past the politics of this, I will continue to go. I've had very little damage inside the Octagon. So I'm eager to get going and continue. Like if I look at the run I had up to Eddie Alvarez, when I won the second world title, it was consecutive bouts ... bout, bout, bout. So I went into that Eddie Alvarez fight sharp and aware, fully prepared. And what happened that night was one of the greatest performances in any title fight ever in the UFC. So that's what we're looking to continue on the next time."

It is unclear who McGregor will fight when he does return, but plenty of names have been bandied about. McGregor mentioned a rematch with Nurmagomedov at one point, and he went back and forth with Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone on social media regarding a potential fight as well.

McGregor also said Wednesday that he wanted to face former UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, but UFC shot it down because the fight "won't make enough money."

Regardless of who he fights, McGregor said he is champing at the bit to get back in the Octagon: 

"I just want to compete now. I was trying to get on the Dec. 14 card. For whatever reason, they've been holding me back. I'm giving them dates. I'm saying I want to fight this date, this date, this date in a row. And we had opponents selected and everything and they're just making it very difficult for me for whatever reason."

Whenever McGregor does return to action, he will put his 21-4 record on the line, and he will undoubtedly generate a great deal of interest in the card due to his star power and impressive resume.