UFC legend Conor McGregor hasn’t set foot in an Octagon since November 2016. Some have doubted that he’d ever fight again in the UFC, but the rumours are he’ll make his long-awaited return at UFC 229 on October 6 and challenge UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The Russian champion won the title after McGregor was stripped of the belt because of his inactivity. McGregor and Nurmagomedov certainly aren’t two people who will send each other birthday cards, and this could be one of the hottest grudge matches ever seen in the UFC.
Long Time No See
McGregor last stepped into the Octagon in November 2016 when he beat Eddie Alvarez to win the UFC Lightweight title and become a dual title holder as he already held the Featherweight belt. Nurmagomedov thought he was going to be getting that title shot and that started the animosity between him and the Irishman.
Conor hasn’t fought since so it was inevitable that he would be losing his belts. His life has changed a fair bit since the Alvarez fight. He’s become a father and is a lot richer after his multi-million-dollar boxing fight with Floyd Mayweather.
There had been talk of a rematch with Mayweather, who he lost to in ten rounds. It was even rumoured that the pair might meet in an Octagon, but nothing has come of that and neither fighter has had a contest since their meeting last August.
Heat Between the Pair
Now the talk is that McGregor is on his way back to the Octagon, but can he regain the title he never lost in combat? If the fight does happen at UFC 229 or even the following month’s UFC 230 at the legendary Madison Square Garden in New York, it will grab daily headlines.
The trash talking between the pair would be off the radar considering the heat that already exists between them. McGregor still has a court case to deal with after allegedly assaulting the Russian during a bus attack earlier this year. Time in the Octagon could well be replaced by time in the slammer if he’s not lucky in his legal battles.
The Russian champion has been busy on social media striking a grappling dummy with the caption ‘Smash him soon.’ Russian footballer Artem Dzubya also wished him luck in his so far unannounced upcoming fight with McGregor.
Major Battle Ahead
This has all the makings of a classic encounter. The returning McGregor out to get his title back against a Russian champion who has a 26-0-0 record, the longest winning streak in MMA history.
McGregor comes across as someone who simply loves a challenge. Beating Mayweather was a task beyond him, as was trying to become UFC Welterweight champion. He must overcome a long absence from the Octagon and can’t afford to let the Russian champion get on top early on as he tries to shake off some Octagon rust. It all promises to be one of the most talked about match-ups in the history of the company.