Conor McGregor is still recovering, but thanks to a series of recent interviews, buzz of a 2022 return has been stirred up.

At Bellator 275 on Saturday, McGregor (22-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) revealed he’s eying a July 2022 return from a broken leg suffered in July 2021 against Dustin Poirier and showed interest in fighting for the title upon his reentrance into competition.

Is that a scenario a reality, with UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira set to defend his title May 7 against Justin Gaethje in Phoenix? Monday, UFC president Dana White told The Underground it’s dependent on a few factors.

“There’s a lot of variables that have to come together for him to come back and fight. No. 1 is health and how’s his leg,” White said. “Once that’s 100 percent. Then, we’ll start to figure out where he goes. We have fights made all the way up until June 18 already. Once he’s 100 percent ready to go, we’ll get him figured out and see what’s what with the lightweight division. We’ll get him figured out.”

The decision will be made once it is known who will hold the title when McGregor is ready to step back into the cage. Champions, too, have a say in matchmaking, reminded White.

“Well, it’s going to depend on who the champion is,” White said. “The champion has some say in that, too. Who is going to be the champ when Conor McGregor comes back and what do they want to do? If you look at Oliveira, if it’s still Oliveira by the time (McGregor) comes back, maybe he wants Conor. Who knows. We’ll see what happens.”

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McGregor, 33, has only competed four times since the start of 2017. He’s gone 1-3 in that stretch with two losses to Poirier and one to Khabib Nurmagomedov. But that hasn’t stopped the biggest pay-per-view attraction in MMA history from angling for a shot at title gold.

“Maybe if your man (Oliveira) is wise, he might give it another month or two,” McGregor told Severe MMA on Saturday. “July seems OK to me. I can’t say, too early. But July, if I’m sparring April, May, June, July, I could slap the head off most of these guys at the end of April, do you know what I’m saying? A spar could be a fight.”


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