UFC president Dana White says her relationship with Conor McGregor is solid until 2021, after a bad start in the second half of last year.

The relationship between the UFC and McGregor began with a high point in 2020 when McGregor was crowned the 18th UFC champion. January on pay-per-view UFC 246 vs. Donald Cowboy Cerrone. He knocked Cerrone out in just 40 seconds. McGregor said he wanted to stay active in three fights in 2020, but that ended up being his only appearance this year.

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Conor McGregor will return to the Octagon for the first time in a year as part of the main event at UFC 257. The former UFC two-division champion takes on Dustin Poirier in a fight that could determine the next challenger for the lightweight title. This fight is also a rematch of their meeting at UFC 178 in September 2014, where McGregor won by TKO in the first round.

Buy UFC 257 here

CFU 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2
– Saturday 23. January, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
– Main Ticket: 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

This lack of activity led to McGregor’s death on the 7th. June announced her resignation on social media, though few expected it to last.

In September, a disgruntled McGregor posted screenshots of private messages with White, showing him various dates and opponents for fights in 2020. McGregor’s proposals were not implemented for a variety of reasons ranging from site availability to scheduling, the COWID-19 pandemic, and disagreements over one of McGregor’s proposed opponents.

White, who called McGregor’s actions one of the nastiest things that could have been done at the time, said the relationship has since been mended and said his biggest concern was that McGregor hired CFU veteran Diego Sanchez in a back-and-forth, which led the CFU to oppose pairing the two last year.

Error! The file name is not specified. Dana White and Conor McGregor have had a sometimes volatile relationship, but White said they are in a good position now, and this could be a big year for the UFC’s biggest star. Stephen Ryan/Getty Images

We were in very bad shape at the time, I was very frustrated, White said. Just because he sends private messages. We were talking about the other fighter. And I love Diego Sanchez. I have a lot of respect for Diego Sanchez. I’m worried about Diego Sanchez. I talked to Diego about it, one on one, and because he’s the big guy, it’s all good.

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I was really mad at Conor, but we fixed it and now everything is fine.

If the UFC and McGregor continue to unite, 2021 could be one of the biggest years of the Irish superstar’s career.

It’s been four years since McGregor fought more than once in a calendar year, but White hopes the string of fights will end in 2021. White says he believes the Irish star is as motivated and focused as he was in 2016, when he fought three times and became the second UFC champion by beating Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205.

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1:16

Dana White tells Brett Okamoto that he plans to sit down with Khabib Nurmagomedov and eventually convince him to fight one last time.

The questions are always like this: Is this fellow as rich as he is hungry? said Mr. White. Nothing is more exciting and fun than a motivated Conor McGregor when his head is in the right place. And you can tell when he’s in and when he’s out, and now he’s in. My conversations with Conor, I know when the real Conor is there and when the other Conor is there, and believe me when I tell you the real Conor is there.

If anything happened to Dustin Poirier, it’s now Conor McGregor, who doesn’t care who we have in this fight. He’ll say it: Who’s ready? Who have you got? I’m going to the gym, tell me who’s coming on Saturday. That’s him now. That Conor McGregor is back.

And if McGregor beats Poirier at UFC 257 and maintains that level of performance, White would like to see him fight for the lightweight title in his next bout.

According to White, this kid is the same now, mentally, physically, emotionally, ready to fight. I’d like to see him focus on what he can do here in the UFC, whether it’s another title fight against Khabib or a title fight against someone else if Khabib retires and defends the title.

Error! The file name is not specified. In his last fight in the UFC, Conor McGregor knocked out Donald Cerrone in just 40 seconds in January 2020. Mark J. Rebilas/U.S. Sports Today

White said he also wants to hire Jorge Masvidal against Colby Covington in the coming months. And he has no problem with T.J. Dillashaw fighting for the title in his first fight since his drug suspension ended in February. As for bantamweight champion Zhang Valley, White said there is still a possibility she could face Namajunas or Carla Esparza in the first quarter of 2021, and he said the fight could take place in Asia. Zhang is China’s first and only UFC champion. Mr. White also said he was considering mapping in Florida and Texas. These states have less strict rules for fans.

But more importantly, it’s McGregor’s return, and White, who has no interest in seeing McGregor take another lucrative boxing match anytime soon, is thrilled to see the biggest star in UFC history back in action.

He hits me and asks me questions about the layout of the arena, the entrance, all those things he thinks about, Mr White said. He’s in.

 

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