Former champ Conor McGregor has revealed that he is confident in his return to the UFC before the end of 2023, despite no clear date yet for his highly-anticipated showdown against fellow coach Michael Chandler. The Ultimate Fighter season 31 is set to debut on May 30th, running through August, but fans are still waiting for McGregor’s fight date to be announced. However, this remains a mystery because the Irish fighter is yet to re-enter the UFC’s anti-doping program.
The six-month wait for drug testing is necessary before McGregor can begin fighting again, but it appears he is willing to wait it out. McGregor has said that the issue has already been settled and he is now just awaiting an exact date for his comeback. “That’s done,” he replied when questioned on the matter, “By year-end, I’m back in that cage having competed. I’m gearing up now, ready to go.
Michael Chandler, it will be announced during The Ultimate Fighter. The Ultimate Fighter is airing in a couple of days on ESPN, and by the time that show finishes, we’ll have a date and it will be set for the fans.”
However, as it currently stands, McGregor still hasn’t been tested in 2023 as per the United States Anti-Doping Agency. While it does not necessarily mean he isn’t available, the timing of the fight is still left to be determined.
McGregor also addressed his potential return to boxing, something he has talked about often since his loss to Floyd Mayweather in 2017. Speaking ahead of Irish boxer Katie Taylor’s fight on Saturday, McGregor appeared in good spirits when asked about possibly challenging Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who most recently dispatched mandatory challenger John Ryder in a 12-round decision.
“I’m a southpaw, Ryder was a southpaw, Billie Joe was a southpaw,” said McGregor. “I’ve seen methods, I’ve seen things I’d do and I know he’s waning. I’d fight Canelo no f problem. No problem.”
McGregor’s return to the UFC is the more pressing concern, however. The former champ has been out of action for over two years since his last fight in July 2021, where he broke his leg in a bout against Dustin Poirier. With hopes of a win over Chandler, McGregor could return to title contention before planning his next move in the boxing.