Conor McGregor looks set to end his long mixed martial arts hiatus and return to the UFC this year.
McGregor, 30, has not competed for the promotion since defeating Eddie Alvarez in November 2016, becoming the first fighter in UFC history to hold titles in two weight divisions simultaneously.
Having made his professional boxing debut in a blockbuster cross-code bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr last year, McGregor now seems set to return to the octagon, having avoided serious punishment for his involvement in a fracas at the UFC 223 media day in Brooklyn. His coach John Kavanagh seemed to confirm his return, and spoke of seeing the “fire back” in McGregor’s training.
He said: “I supported [McGregor focusing on other business] and I’m fully behind it, but I do see the spark back. I do see him very hungry, coming down to regular jiu-jitsu class and throwing a gi on. Strength and conditioning. There’s a real fire back.”
Rumours have circulated that McGregor will return at lightweight, with a title fight likely with undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, a long-standing rivalry heated by the backstage events in Brooklyn. Despite his lay-off, Kavanagh is confident it is a fight that McGregor can win.
He said: “It’s a cliche to say, but it’s a classic striker versus grappler, “Khabib needs to get into that clinch, join his hands and start chaining his takedowns together. Obviously, we need to try and prevent that.”
“I think a lot of people are so afraid of Khabib’s grappling, they don’t engage with him. Conor is a good grappler. I know that will get a lot of people upset when I say that, but watch his fights. There’s plenty of evidence to support that claim. I’m feeling and he’s feeling confident, wherever the fight goes. But [the left hand] will be the difference in the fight.”
Author: Harry Diamond | LinkedIn
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