Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 November 2019

Conor McGregor would 'love to compete' in Abu Dhabi after announcing UFC comeback

Former champion has been inactive since October 2018 and has targeted rematches with Nate Diaz and Khabib Nurmagomedov

Conor McGregor during a press conference in Russia where he took the opportunity to reveal his comeback to the UFC. AP
Conor McGregor during a press conference in Russia where he took the opportunity to reveal his comeback to the UFC. AP

Conor McGregor has said he would "love to compete in Abu Dhabi" as he announced his comeback date to the UFC during a promotional trip to Russia.

McGregor, a former two-weight UFC champion, has not stepped foot inside the octagon since his submission defeat to fierce rival Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October 2018, an event which subsequently descended into chaos with both fighters receiving lengthy suspensions for their parts in a post-fight brawl.

Khabib made his return from nine-month ban in Abu Dhabi in September, successfully retaining his lightweight title against Dustin Poirier as the UFC made its return to the UAE capital after a five-year hiatus.

Now McGregor, who had in March announced his retirement from Mixed Martial Arts and the UFC, confirmed he will be returning next year and outlined his plans for 2020.

"January 18, T-Mobile, Las Vegas, Nevada: that will be the beginning of my season," McGregor said, refusing to identify the opponent for his comeback fight because the UFC "are a crafty company.

"I will then look to compete against the winner of Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal," the 31-year-old Irishman said, referring to the UFC 244 welterweight showdown in New York City on November 2.

McGregor has targeted Diaz with the aim of completing a trilogy following two epic bouts, the first going the way of Diaz at UFC 196 in March 2016, before McGregor earned his revenge five months later at UFC 202.

But much of the focus during the press conference in Moscow centred on a potential rematch with Khabib, whom McGregor accused of "scurrying" and running scared.

“Then I will seek a bout in Moscow and it will be the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson," McGregor said. "That is the bout we want, that is the bout we want in Moscow. The people of Russia deserve for this bout to take place.

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Best photos from UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi

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"It is an inevitable rematch. I will come in sharp, fresh, I will have no injuries, no outside influences – I will be fully focused. And we will settle it once and for all.

“I am coming for him. But forget him for a moment. January 18: the return of a fully focused Notorious Conor McGregor will take place in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ask the UFC who the opponent is because I don't [care]: I am going to go through the entire roster like a chainsaw through butter.”

And McGregor plans to carve through the UFC in front of fans all around the world, making clear his intentions to fight in Russia, Ireland and the UAE.

“I feel it is the job of the fighter to lift the public’s interest in events all over the globe," he said. "So, most certainly, I would love to compete in Abu Dhabi.

“I would love to compete in Dublin, Ireland, I would love, love, love to compete here in Moscow, Russia. Let’s see what happens.”

Updated: October 24, 2019 04:32 PM

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