Conor McGregor offers timeline for UFC return – but there is a problem

Conor McGregor has said he is eyeing an August or September return to the UFC, after his June comeback was derailed by a broken toe.

McGregor has not fought since suffering a broken leg in July 2021, and the Irishman was due to headline UFC 303 against Michael Chandler on 29 June.

That Las Vegas bout fell through this month, however, after a spell of secrecy and speculation over the fate of the fight. Ultimately, McGregor revealed this week that he had broken his toe.

Discussing the setback, the 35-year-old told journalist Andy Stevenson on Saturday (22 June): “It’s tough, but we keep it dialled in. I was kind of looking forward to getting the fight wrapped up on 29 June, having a nice celebration on my birthday, and then dialling back in for some kind of September, October date.

“We just adjust, everything is moving parts. I’m good. The injury is a nuisance; it’s painful, I’m not gonna lie. It’s very, very painful – probably even more painful than the leg, and that’s the truth. And I’ll tell you why: The leg at least was wrapped up, I couldn’t access it. The foot is just there still, it’s like it’s exposed or something.

“It’s a bit painful, but it comes with the f***ing territory. I need to just dial it in, get my training camps correct. I’m not trying to be hurt in the gym, and I’m not trying to hurt people in the gym either. I’m trying to get to these fights 100 per cent healthy.

“I’m very close to getting there. I had a little lapse in concentration – a wake-up call for myself, my coaches and my training partners. I’m gonna recalibrate, readjust, recuperate and return.”

McGregor also thanked the UFC for its help throughout this period, admitting he had been “in a dark place”, before discussing the new timeline for his return.

Conor McGregor last won a UFC fight in January 2020 (Getty Images)
Conor McGregor last won a UFC fight in January 2020 (Getty Images)

“As soon as. August, September. I’m still walking around in slippers, I can’t get into a shoe yet. I did everything they asked, they put stem cell into my foot. They took it from the back, 20mg of stem cell from the bone marrow.

“Then there was a little bit left over, so I said: ‘Yeah, lob it into my shoulder there, it feels a bit sore.’ And my shoulder is actually feeling amazing [...] but I don’t know whether the stem cell into the break was the right move.”

The issue with McGregor’s proposed timeline is that the UFC’s August pay-per-view, UFC 305, already has a main event, and the promotion has been coy about the Irishman headlining the September pay-per-view, UFC 306.

It was announced this week that Dricus Du Plessis will defend the middleweight title against former champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 305, in Australia, while UFC 306 is due to take place at Las Vegas’s Sphere.

McGregor, who previously reigned as the first dual-weight champion in UFC history, has not fought since breaking his leg against Dustin Poirier three years ago. The Irishman’s last win came in January 2020, when he stopped Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds.