Conor McGregor won’t fight again this year, according to former UFC fighter Brendan Schaub.
The former two-weight world champion has been recovering from the broken leg he suffered in his trilogy fight with Dustin Poirier last summer. He had initially planned to return to the UFC this summer but appears to behind schedule with his recovery programme.
McGregor has targeted a return to sparring by last month but has done so sparingly, and only with his hands. He has yet to return to full martial arts training and recently holidayed in the south of France with coach John Kavanagh who had hoped McGregor would be much further ahead with his training by now.
“That would be full, full-contact training [by April] but I’m hoping to get him in much earlier than that for drills and to get the muscle memory,” he told SevereMMA. “There’s no reason we can’t do that much sooner and then go into the full-contact 5×5 MMA sparring which is very demanding.”
McGregor was called out by both Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira after their respective victories at UFC 274 last weekend, although the Irishman has doubts over returning to the lightweight division. And Schaub, who fought 11 times in the UFC, doubts McGregor will fight until 2023.
“Here’s the thing, he broke his leg and I think the earliest he can come back is November,” he said on his podcast. “You know the year just started and we’re in May. So for Chandler, you’re going to wait till November and from what I hear from my sources, Conor has no intention of fighting this year.
“This is why he’s so big, you know? So if did fight Chandler it would be at 170lb, but at the very, very earliest you’re looking at November. I know Michael Chandler, I know him pretty well, consider him my friend. He ain’t waiting till November; that ain’t happening.”
McGregor did, however, respond to a tweet last weekend suggesting he wouldn’t fight this year by posting two laughing emojis. But with the UFC ploughing on with filling their pay-per-view cards, there are minimal opportunities for the Dubliner to headline a card.
Israel Adesanya will take centre stage on International Fight Week in Las Vegas in July while Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic are pencilled in to headline September’s UFC 270 card. Oliveira could return at UFC 281 in October if he takes on Islam Makhachev for the vacant title with that card set for Abu Dhabi.