Conor McGregor is in preliminary talks to make his return to the Octagon in the summer, it has been claimed. The former two-division champion returned to the cage last month in the main event of UFC 246, where he was welcomed back to action by Donald Cerrone.
McGregor’s comeback fight – which saw him return to the welterweight division – didn’t last long, though, as he decimated ‘Cowboy’ in over 40 seconds to claim his first victory in over three years.
Ireland’s first UFC champion is hoping to have two more fights this year, so much so he’s planning to stay in shape all year round.
And according to ESPN, negotiations over the Dubliner’s second outing of his 2020 ‘season’ are underway.
On Monday night, ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported McGregor’s representatives are in talks with the UFC brass over a showdown with former World Series of Fighting lightweight champion Justin Gaethje.
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Conor McGregor is in preliminary talks to face Justin Gaethje in the summer
Talks over the bout, which is being targeted for the summer, are said to be in the very early stages.
The in-form Gaethje was in talks to welcome McGregor back to the Octagon last summer, though a broken hand for the latter scuppered the UFC top brass’ plans to pit the pair against one another.
Gaethje was considered to be McGregor’s dance partner for January 18 but was overlooked in favour of Cerrone.
News of McGregor’s team discussing a bout with Gaethje – who has the management as Khabib Nurmagomedov – comes a few days after ‘The Highlight’ branded the UFC’s poster boy a ‘p***y’ and insisted he wouldn’t accept a fight with him.
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“The man is not going to fight me,” Gaethje said in a video alongside UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo. “What the fuck do you gotta do?
“He’s running out of easy fights.
“I’m sitting here, smoking my CBD, waiting for a motherf**ker to punch me in the face.”
Gaethje’s incessant lambasting of McGregor hasn’t gone unnoticed by ‘The Notorious’, who insists he’s more than happy to take on the fan favourite.
“He’s on the list. He is on the list,” McGregor said of Gaethje in a recent interview with The Mac Life. “Maybe I will face him next.
“Maybe I’ll face him next, you know? He has it coming to him.
“I mean laugh at how Justin is behaving. He’s a funny guy. He’s been taking it very to heart, you know? And I know the feeling when you do that.
“So maybe I’ll get through Donald and I’ll have a quick turnaround against Justin.
“So maybe that’s what will happen. But Justin is on the list, no doubt.”
Talks over a fight between McGregor and Gaethje suggest the UFC brass have moved on from their plans to have the former rematch lightweight champion Nurmagomedov.
UFC president Dana White was adamant Nurmagomedov vs McGregor II was the ‘fight to make’ after McGregor’s demolition of Cerrone and reiterated that stance multiple times.
That stance, however, seems to have changed with the opening of talks over about with Gaethje.
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