John Kavanagh predicts Conor McGregor return in 2018 4 years ago

John Kavanagh predicts Conor McGregor return in 2018

It looks like we'll have to wait a little while longer for Conor McGregor's return to the Octagon.

The UFC trying to pull a Nate Diaz welterweight title shot out of their hoop is a sure sign that a Conor McGregor return is not imminent.

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All signs suggest that 'the Notorious' won't be fighting on the UFC's 2017 closer on December 30. If you believe Mike Mazzulli's claim, this was a punishment handed down by the big wigs for his antics at Bellator Dublin.

What is probably more likely though, is that trying to get a potentially seismic deal done with the sport's biggest ever superstar just wasn't feasible in this timeframe. Remember, McGregor wants a larger piece of the pie and Dana White doesn't seem interested in handing him co-promoter status at all.

McGregor is expected to take a UFC lightweight title unification fight against interim king Tony Ferguson in his return. Although if Diaz gets his crack at Tyron Woodley and somehow manages to usurp the welterweight throne, it's difficult to envisage a scenario where the UFC doesn't immediately push for the trilogy fight for the 170 lb belt.

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John Kavanagh is in Bahrain this week where he cornered Frans Mlambo, who scored a first-round finish over Michael Deiga-Scheck on the Brave CF 9 card. Although he was there to coach one of his many fighters, he had to answer an inevitable question about the most famous fighter at his gym.

He told journalist Farah Hannoun that he doesn't expect McGregor to step foot inside the Octagon until mid-2018. This would mean that he would have spent at least 17 months between UFC fights, with his last one being that knockout victory over Eddie Alvarez to claim the 155 lb belt at UFC 205.

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If the commissions come down hard on McGregor for leaping into the cage and slapping that Bellator employee in the face, McGregor may have to wait a bit longer than that. However, very few people expect them to take action against the biggest cash-cow in the game.