Conor McGregor is serving a six-month suspension levied by the Nevada State Athletic Commission over his role in a brawl that occurred after his UFC 229 loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October. The sanction ends on April 6, and the Irish mixed martial artist likely will need a few months to get back into fighting shape before his return to the octagon. On Friday, UFC President Dana White all but confirmed that timetable, telling MMA Junkie he’d “like to see Conor fight this summer.”
His opponent could be Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, who scored a TKO win over Alexander Hernandez at UFC on ESPN+ 1 in January.
“Those two want to fight each other; they’ve both earned it,” White said after the pre-fight news conference for Saturday night’s UFC 234 in Australia. “Cowboy’s fought anybody we’ve ever put against him. We throw this young killer Hernandez at him, Cowboy’s the underdog and he goes in and does it the way he did it, then Conor’s fought everybody.
“If these two want to fight, I’m down.”
Cerrone, who’s 35 and UFC’s ninth-ranked lightweight, holds the UFC record for all-time wins (22) and finishes (16) and is tied with Jim Miller for the most bouts in the organization with 30.
The only summer pay-per-view event on the current schedule is UFC 238 on June 8, though both the location and the card have yet to be announced.
Whoever McGregor fights next, it could set up an anticipated rematch with Nurmagomedov, a bout White has said “should happen” late in 2019. Nurmagomedov kept his UFC lightweight belt with a fourth-round submission of McGregor at UFC 229, after which he leaped over the cage and charged at Dillon Danis, one of McGregor’s cornermen. Nurmagomedov’s team, meanwhile, rushed the cage and attacked McGregor himself. The Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended Nurmagomedov for nine months as a result.
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