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Dana White: It makes a lot of sense for Conor McGregor to ‘come back at the right time’

The UFC president is still standing firmly behind the idea that McGregor is retired from MMA, but it doesn’t sound like he’s completely out of the UFC’s future plans.

UFC 229 Khabib v McGregor: Press Conference Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

For fans hoping to see Conor McGregor back in the Octagon sometime soon, 2020 may not be their year. UFC president Dana White has been fairly unwavering in his assertion that the former featherweight & lightweight champion is very much retired from MMA. In combat sports, however, few things are less definitive than a fighter who says they’ve left their competitive career behind.

And when speaking to CNN in a recent interview, White made it clear that while his current goals are just to see out the rest of the year without another major scheduling disaster, further down the line a return to the UFC could still be in the cards for the promotion’s biggest star.

“We’ve talked, in just little spurts, but just about life and family and stuff like that—not about fighting,” White said of McGregor’s future. “Conor McGregor is retired.

When pressed if McGregor’s retirement was “for sure, this time,” however, White added, “You never know. You never know. Listen, it makes a lot of sense for him to come back at the right time. I don’t know when the right time is yet.

“Like I said—listen, man, I’m trying to get to January 1st. That’s my goal this year, is to get to Jan-1 without anything blowing up anymore this year, in 2020. I can’t wait for 2020 to be gone. This will go down as the worst year in history ever.”

McGregor was last seen in the cage back in January, when he ran through Donald Cerrone for a decisive first round TKO win. That fight was his first in over a year, following his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC lightweight title. In the months since, he has been briefly linked to bouts with Justin Gaethje and Anderson Silva, but instead announced his retirement in early June, stating that, “the game just does not excite me, and that’s that.”

It just might be, however, that with the right fallout from Gaethje’s planned bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov come October, McGregor could find himself once again staring at a potential chance to reclaim the lightweight title—and maybe even avenge one of his most humiliating career losses. Just the kind of motivation he might need to get him excited for another return to fighting.

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