Ariel Helwani shared some insight on the return of Conor McGregor.
Former UFC two-division champion Conor McGregor has remained on the sidelines for about a year since his most recent outing last July. McGregor succumbed to back-to-back losses to his adversary, Dustin Poirier in 2021. During their second contest at UFC 264, he suffered a broken fibula that has kept him out of competition.
Conor McGregor is not likely to return this year
While swift in recovery, ‘The Notorious’ shared regular updates with his fans. He got back to training again and working on his boxing chops but is yet to start throwing kicks again. The 33-year-old expressed a desire to take on UFC Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman for a title showdown.
There was also interest in a third fight with Nate Diaz, who has been shelved by the promotion for over a year. He’s also on the last fight of his contract without a willingness to re-sign, so the UFC seems to be saving him in anticipation of McGregor’s return.
In a recent episode of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, the host answered questions from fans, one of which asked him if the Irish superstar should return for Diaz’s last fight. Helwani revealed that McGregor will likely not be able to return to the cage until early 2023.
“Last I heard, by the way, Conor could come back February, March or so. It doesn’t look like he’s coming back in 2022. So now, here you have a guy who hasn’t fought since (July) of last year.
“He’s (Diaz) gonna wait a year-and-a-half for a dude that, obviously he knows he’ll make money fighting him, but does he really wanna sit around in the prime of his life when he’s as popular can be, for this fight?
“What if Conor is coming back, stumbles, and gets hurt again? There’s a million different things that could happen. There’s no guarantee that he’s coming back tomorrow, next month, the month after that, and the last I heard was early 2023. There’s no rush here, as there shouldn’t be a rush because he’s coming back from such a gruesome and serious injury.” (h/t MMA News)
There hasn’t been any official word on what the timeframe looks like for McGregor’s return. UFC President Dana White had indicated sometime around September to be an optimistic comeback but Helwani’s updates would suggest otherwise.