While Conor McGregor’s return to the UFC Octagon has been much slower to happen than many might have thought, the UFC lightweight champion continues to insist his plan is to fight in 2018.
McGregor won the lightweight title in November of 2015, adding to the UFC featherweight belt he already held, making him the first athlete in UFC history to hold two divisional titles simultaneously. He was then forced to relinquish the 145-pound title, but has yet to defend the 155-pound belt, as he landed a blockbuster boxing match with undefeated former world champion Floyd Mayweather.
The Mayweather vs. McGregor bout was in August of 2017, however, and everyone is starting to get impatient with McGregor holding the lightweight title hostage as we enter the second month of 2018 with no definitive word on when or whom he might fight.
UFC president Dana White has indicated that he is more than prepared to strip McGregor of the belt, and has gone so far as booking a title fight between interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson and undefeated contender Khabib Nurmagomedov to headline UFC 223. White even said that the Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov bout would be for the undisputed title, all the while refusing to definitively say that McGregor had been or would be stripped.
Though McGregor has said little about being stripped of the title, in on-the-street interviews with Adam Glyn this week, McGregor insisted that he is currently at the negotiating table and fully intends to fight this year.
“As soon as we get the deal done. I’m ready to go,” said McGregor. “Oh, I believe so, yeah (I plan on fighting in 2018).”
Conor McGregor Has Opponents in Mind
Though McGregor doesn’t have the details either, he does have targeted opponents.
“We have many options. There’s the current interim lightweight champion [Ferguson]. There’s an undefeated Dagestani [Nurmagomedov]. There may be a big Russian event. There’s obviously the [Nate] Diaz trilogy. Of course, the [Floyd] Mayweather fight is there,” he said.
“They are who I’m thinking of, but the fight game changes so quick, so many times, so we’ll see. I’m at the negotiation table right now.”
Giving how vague both White and McGregor are being about if and when the Irishman might return, there is certainly room for much speculation about whether or not he’ll return at all, but McGregor continues to insist that he’s ready to go as soon he and the UFC come to an agreement.
“The mind is clear, the body is sharp. I’m staying ready.”