It looks like Conor McGregor’s return isn’t going to be a one-off. I’m not sure anyone believed it would be anyway, but if sources are legit, the former two-division champion could step into the Octagon three times in 2020.
Here’s what Ariel Helwani of ESPN had to say about McGregor’s near future on an episode of SportsCenter (transcribed by MMA Mania):
”Okay, so he has laid out this plan that he wants to fight three times next year. And he hasn’t done that in over three years as well, so it’s a pretty lofty goal. But he believes that when he is active, then he’s not getting distracted, he’s not getting in trouble. He’s very focused. And people are telling me right now that they haven’t seen him this focused in a very long time.
”You hear this a lot in the fight game, but he’s going to sleep early, he’s waking up early. He wants to prove to everyone that thinks he’s shot that they are wrong. So he wants to fight January 18th - in fact, he wanted to fight in December but the UFC didn’t give him that opportunity. So he wanted to fight at the beginning of the year, then he wants to return towards spring (or) summer, maybe fight Jorge Masvidal or Nate Diaz.”
He then continues by explaining how McGregor wants to cap this all off:
“Perhaps that’s why this fight is happening at 170, to prove that he can hang with the welterweights. And then he wants to fight at the end of the year against Khabib Nurmagomedov, if he is still the champion, in Moscow. He wants to right that wrong.”
”He wants to win those two fights, get the title fight, and shut everyone up.”
McGregor’s first step is official, as he will meet Donald Cerrone in the headliner of UFC 246 in Vegas on January 18th. Whether that is actually his plan or not remains to be seen, but he has to get through Cowboy first.