It’s hard to blame the UFC president given that McGregor marches to the beat of his own drum and that there is so much uncertainty surrounding the future of “The Notorious”. Regardless speaking to TMZ Sports, White sounded optimistic that fans will see McGregor compete soon.
“He’ll either be back this year or early next year,” White said. “We’ll see how this whole thing plays out in September.”
The September event that White is referring to is UFC 242, which will be headlined by a lightweight championship bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier. There is a potentially a lot of money in a rematch between Nurmagomedov and McGregor, or perhaps in a rematch with Poirier, but White declined to commit to giving McGregor the winner of that fight, only saying that “it will shake a lot of things up, whoever wins that fight.”
White also refused to say one way or the other whether a trilogy bout between McGregor and Nate Diaz was on the table. One topic he was adamant about was that McGregor would not be fighting Jorge Masvidal, the longtime veteran who has experienced a recent surge in popularity due to back-to-back knockouts of Ben Askren and Darren Till, and a backstage confrontation with Leon Edwards that exploded on social media.
Recently, Masvidal called for a bout with McGregor, calling the former dual-division UFC champion “an easy paycheck.”
Though Masvidal has competed at 155 pounds and 170 pounds, he’s currently in the welterweight contender stream and White doesn’t want to see McGregor wade into those waters anymore despite having done so twice for a pair of lucrative bouts with Diaz back in 2016.
“Masvidal’s too big for Conor. … [Conor] shouldn’t have [fought at 170]. I hated that he did it,” White said. “Not only did I hate that he did it once, I hated that he did it twice. He doesn’t belong at that weight.”
“There’s plenty of fights for [Masvidal] in his weight division without Conor,” White continued. “He’s too big for Conor. Conor doesn’t belong at 170. He’s got the balls to fight at 170, but he doesn’t belong there.”