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Conor McGregor to make long-awaited UFC return

The Irishman will fight Michael Chandler in June after a three-year hiatus from the octagon

Former champion Conor McGregor will return to the octagon in June to fight Michael Chandler, UFC President Dana White confirmed on Saturday. McGregor last fought professionally in 2021, when he broke his leg in a lightweight bout with Dustin Poirier.

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McGregor and Chandler will fight as welterweights at the end of the UFC’s International Fight Week in Las Vegas, White announced after Saturday’s UFC 300 event. Chandler, who is currently the promotion’s sixth-ranked lightweight, had repeatedly called for a bout since both men coached opposite teams on last year’s season of the UFC’s ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ reality TV show.

“It’s all about timing. Chandler’s been ready but Conor hasn’t been ready,” White said. “What you don’t want him doing is accepting a fight when he’s got a ton of obligations and he can’t train 100% for a fight, so here we are tonight.”

After making his UFC debut in 2013, McGregor notched up a string of victories, culminating in a stunning 13-second knockout of featherweight champion Jose Aldo in 2015. McGregor’s first UFC loss came in a welterweight fight with Nate Diaz in March 2016, although the Irish southpaw went on to defeat the Californian that August, and claim the lightweight belt from division champion Eddie Alvarez in November.

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McGregor’s flawless victory over Alvarez made him the UFC’s first two-division champion, but he never defended either title and was stripped of both belts due to inactivity. The Dubliner has fought only intermittently ever since, and his last foray into the octagon in 2021 ended in disaster when he lost for the second time in a year to Dustin Poirier after snapping his tibia in the first round.

McGregor has since focused on promoting his whiskey brand and made his Hollywood debut in ‘Road House’, which was released last month.

In a recent interview with talk show host James Corden, McGregor said that he intends to compete in “four fights in a year.”

“I’m barely touched. I only got clicked once, and then the leg break,” he said. “That’s it. I’ve put more people to sleep than anesthesia. So as far as freshness goes, I’m as fresh as it gets in this business.”

April 14, 2024 at 09:03PM

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