Ireland’s first UFC belt holder hasn’t set foot inside the Octagon since his historic victory at UFC 205, a triumph which saw him become the first fighter in the promotion’s history to hold two titles simultaneously.
McGregor’s hiatus from the cage was largely in part down to the impending arrival of his first child, Conor Jr, who was born in May.
It was extended in June when it was announced that he would take on Floyd Mayweather Jr in a multi-million-pound boxing match, which took place in August.
It’s understood that the UFC brass were hopeful of having the 29-year-old headline their final show of 2017, which takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 30.
However, it’s been confirmed that ‘The Notorious’ won’t make his long-awaited return to mixed martial arts at UFC 219.
UFC 219 will instead be headlined by a women’s featherweight title bout between champion Cris ‘Cyborg’ and former women’s bantamweight belt Holly Holm.
Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times revealed the news in a tweet which confirmed that the eagerly-anticipated lightweight bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Edson Barboza will serve as UFC 219’s co-main event.
Yesterday morning, he tweeted: “Confirmed: #UFC219 co-main event will be @TeamKhabib vs. @EdsonBarbozaJR, three-round fight…”
The fact McGregor won’t be fighting at UFC 219 could be the result of a punishment he may have received from the UFC for his unsavoury antics at Bellator 187, which saw him push referee Marc Goddard twice after storming the cage to celebrate Charlie Ward’s victory over John Redmond.
According to the president of the Association of Boxing Commission, Mike Mazzulli, the UFC brass had plans for their poster boy to headline the pay-per-view event but scrapped them immediately after seeing his behaviour at their rival promotion’s latest show in Ireland.
“I had some executives from UFC contact me within two hours after what occurred and they basically said to me that it’s completely unacceptable in their eyes and that they will be doing something,” Mazzulli said during an appearance on The MMA Hour.
“They did inform me that he was set to be on the December 30th card and he will not be on it,” he continued. “So I do commend UFC to some extent for doing that.”
McGregor’s first fight back in the UFC is expected to be a lightweight title unification bout against interim 155lbs champion Tony Ferguson.