Conor McGregor is ready to fight, but the questions remain about who he’ll face and where his return will take place.
The former two-division UFC champion needed just 40 seconds to finish Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone back in January, and immediately afterwards, he announced plans to keep busy in 2020 with at least three fights. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic squashed those plans with numerous cards either cancelled or postponed.
To make matters more difficult, McGregor resides in Ireland, and until travel restrictions are lifted, it may be difficult for him to come to the United States or go back home once a fight is finished.
According to UFC president Dana White, McGregor is definitely itching to compete again, but his next fight may be dependent on the company’s ability to finish building “Fight Island,” which is expected to hold fight cards for athletes living outside the U.S. starting sometime in June.
“Conor’s been ready to fight for a while,” White revealed when speaking to Jim Rome on Tuesday. “He’s in shape. He’s ready to go.
“First of all, ‘Fight Island’ is going to be very important in any of these fights that are happening with people from outside the country. It kills me to do a fight with Conor without fans. Kills me. This guy’s doing almost $20 million gates.”
White had previously conceded that it might be some time before fans would be allowed to attend a UFC event again with strict social distancing guidelines in place in virtually every country across the globe. Most sports leagues are preparing to move forward without crowds in attendance for games.
As far as potential opponents, McGregor had initially hoped to work his way back into title contention for a rematch against reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
That plan is now null and void with the UFC planning for the winner of the upcoming interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje to then move on to face Nurmagomedov later this year.
If so, McGregor is the odd man out, but there are still plenty of options available to him once the UFC moves forward with booking his next fight.