Conor McGregor is set to return to UFC action in 2023 after an absence from the octagon following a horror leg break last year. McGregor last featured on a fight card in July 2021, where he took on Dustin Poirier.
Poirier inflicted the horrendous injury on the Irishman last summer, and in doing so secured a brutal round-one victory over his rival. There has been plenty of speculation on when McGregor will finally return, with many tipping a comeback this autumn.
It seems this target will come too soon though, with mixed martial arts journalist Ariel Helwani reporting that it is more likely to come in ‘February or March’.
Appearing onThe MMA Hour , he said: "Last I heard, by the way, Conor could come back February, March or so. It doesn’t look like he’s coming back in 2022. So now, here you have a guy who hasn’t fought since (July) of last year.
"He’s [Nate Diaz] gonna wait a year-and-a-half for a dude that, obviously he knows he’ll make money fighting him, but does he really wanna sit around in the prime of his life when he’s as popular can be, for this fight? What if Conor is coming back, stumbles, and gets hurt again? There’s a million different things that could happen.”
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There is no doubt everybody in the sport will be hoping to see the Irishman return as quickly as possible, with McGregor proving to be one of the franchise's most popular figures in recent years. After suffering such a serious injury though, Helwani believes there is no need to rush back.
He added: “There’s no guarantee that he’s coming back tomorrow, next month, the month after that, and the last I heard was early 2023. There’s no rush here, as there shouldn’t be a rush because he’s coming back from such a gruesome and serious injury.”
McGregor himself recently addressed his potential return, commenting: “The body's doing good. I'm out here with my full team… I should be able to kick now, I have another CT scan in the coming days and then I'll be clear to kick. Once I can kick and grapple I'll be back in no time. Boxing training is going well, strength training and that's all. I'm excited to get back."
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