UFC president Dana White hints at Conor McGregor return date amid recovery from injury

UFC president Dana White has hinted that Conor McGregor will return in November at the earliest, after the former champion suffered a broken toe this month.

McGregor, who has not fought since breaking his leg in a July 2021 defeat, was due to make his comeback against Michael Chandler on Saturday (29 June). However, the fight was cancelled earlier this month, with a new main event booked for UFC 303 in Las Vegas.

McGregor, 35, has expressed his desire to return this summer, but the UFC has already scheduled headline bouts for its July and August pay-per-view events.

That led some fans to theorise that the Irishman could headline the September pay-per-view at Las Vegas’s Sphere, or one of the October events in Salt Lake City and Abu Dhabi.

However, when asked by Barstool Sports whether McGregor could return in August, September or October, White said “none of the above” on Thursday.

That leaves November’s pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden in New York, and December – at an as-yet-unnamed venue – for McGregor’s comeback.

In the new main event of UFC 303, Alex Pereira will defend the light-heavyweight title against Jiri Prochazka. The Brazilian stopped the former champion in November to win the vacant belt, having previously held the middleweight title.

McGregor tweeted on Friday: “I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t in deep pain right now watching fight week take place. Deep mental pain. Thank you for the messages of support and encouragement, my peers and fans.”

Conor McGregor before his last fight, a loss to Dustin Poirier in July 2021 (Getty Images)
Conor McGregor before his last fight, a loss to Dustin Poirier in July 2021 (Getty Images)

July’s pay-per-view in Manchester will be headlined by welterweight champion Leon Edwards and Belal Muhammad, and the August event in Perth will end with a middleweight title fight: Dricus Du Plessis against ex-champion Israel Adesanya.

A featherweight fight between champion Ilia Topuria and former title holder Max Holloway is rumoured to headline the September card, while October’s pay-per-view may feature Islam Makhachev vs Arman Tsarukyan for the lightweight title.

Challenger Tsarukyan must successfully reduce a ban, however, if that fight is to come together. The Armenian-Russian was suspended for nine months this week after striking a fan during his walkout at UFC 300.