October 5, 2023 7:30 am ET
It appears Conor McGregor could be one step closer to a UFC return.
After coaching Season 31 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, McGregor (22-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) is expected to return against Michael Chandler (23-8 MMA, 18-5 UFC). The delay of their fight booking is due to McGregor, however, who has yet to officially re-enter the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) testing pool.
In a recent Instagram post, though, McGregor indicated he has begun the process of opening himself up to USADA testing.
“Find my targets. Hit them. F*ck the consequences. You’re going down. This is fighting. Sparring day with slick @grozdevnikolay. Always a banger of a spar with the slick fella. Submitted my stuff to Novitzky. Ball rolling ⚽️ See you soon you little light work b*tch.”
According to USADA, McGregor must provide at least two negative samples over the course of six months before he’ll be eligible to compete. It is unknown if he will be provided an exemption, which the UFC can grant if it wants, but officially entering the pool would definitely a a significant step in the right direction for his return.
McGregor has not fought since breaking his leg in a TKO loss to Dustin Poirier in July 2021.
In a recent interview on The MMA Hour, Chandler said he expects to fight McGregor at UFC 300, which is projected for April. If McGregor has indeed re-entered the USADA testing pool, that timeline would pan out perfectly for an April return, and Chandler is ready for whichever date.
“Best I can say, UFC 300 could possibly be what everyone is probably looking at,” Chandler said. “So, right around that six-month mark from there would make a lot of sense, but I haven’t set a date. I’m just a foot soldier ready for that phone call, and when that phone call comes in, I go to work.”
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