Don’t be expecting to see Conor McGregor in the Octagon this year as his manager Audie Attar has now stated it’s now likely that he won’t be returning until 2024.
“We’re in active discussions with the UFC, we’ve spoken to USADA, and we’re going to do things the right way,” Attar told MMAJunkie.
“That’s all I’m going to say about that. The thing about Conor McGregor is, people will speculate and stories run wild that are nine times out of 10 very inaccurate and false. So that’s all I’ll say about that. But certainly, he’s looking for a comeback in 2024.
“You can’t rule out the end of the year. But I think just in terms of where we are right now in terms of the date, it’s likely going to be 2024.
“I think that’s what the UFC has their sights set on, so we’ll see kind of exactly when that will be.
“Until then, we’re just going to do our thing, and go about it the right way. He’s preparing at the end of the day, and that’s the most important thing.
“[Michael] Chandler makes sense, but so do others. But Chandler is who he has his sights set on. We did that show knowing that that match-up would be next.”
Truth be told the UFC would have preferred to have him fight this year, and indeed that’s what McGregor seemed to be targeting too a couple of months ago when he said he was about to re-enter the USADA drug-testing pool deliver, a mandatory requirement for returning UFC fighters that ensures they are providing clean tests for six months prior to competing.
Of course it’s been well documented since then that McGregor didn’t actually enroll in the program after all and has since missed the 6-month deadline to ensure he’d be able to compete by the end of the year.
It’s far from an ideal situation for McGregor, who turned 35-years-old last week, hasn’t competed in the past two years, has repeatedly hit the headlines for the wrong reasons during his extended lay-off, and by the time he’s ready to compete again will be four years removed from his last victory.
As such it’s not surprising that some observers are suggesting that the former two-division champ’s best days are now behind him and that the sport has passed him by, but of course his manager sees it differently.
“Everybody’s always doubting him in different ways and criticizing him, and being critical. But ultimately, they’ll see when he steps into that octagon,” Attar said.
“Ultimately, I think they can eat their words then.”