Share this article

Dana White Spoils Conor McGregor’s Rumored Return as CEO Drops Irishman’s Plans for Colby Covington vs Leon Edwards at UFC 296

Published 09/21/2023, 1:51 AM EDT

Follow Us

via Imago

UFC CEO Dana White recently surprised fans with an announcement regarding the upcoming UFC cards, notably the absence of Conor McGregor. McGregor, who has been away from the Octagon since 2021, was expected to make his return this year.

America’s Favorite Video Today

In the announcement, White disclosed that UFC 296, the year’s final pay-per-view event, would be headlined by Leon Edwards and Colby Covington. This news arrived amid widespread speculations about Conor McGregor’s potential return to the Octagon, causing a stir in the MMA community.

Dana White drops huge announcement about UFC 296 and Conor McGregor


Article continues below this ad

A video posted by the UFC’s official Twitter/X account unveiled the main events for UFC 295 and 296. UFC 295 featured Alex Pereira and Jiri Prochazka battling for the vacant light-heavyweight title. With an intriguing addition of Colby Covington to the UFC 296 card.



Get instantly notified of the hottest UFC stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

Fans had eagerly anticipated Conor McGregor’s presence on the year-end card as speculations ran rampant. McGregor himself had shared a screenshot on social media, hinting at a headlining bout against Michael Chandler at UFC 296 on December 16th.

However, Dana White swiftly debunked the image’s authenticity, stating, “My team was telling me it was AI, it wasn’t real. Obviously, if that was the case, you would have heard it from us first.”

With the announcement of Colby Covington vs. Leon Edwards, Dana White has dashed fans’ hopes of seeing McGregor fight again this year. Whether McGregor’s team will issue a statement in response to this update remains uncertain.

‘Chaos’ makes his return to the Octagon

Although McGregor is fit and booked to face Michael Chandler, he hasn’t fought since his leg injury during a trilogy bout with Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 in 2021.

Colby Covington, another fighter returning from an extended break, appears to have taken Conor McGregor’s spot for a potential comeback. Covington, a former UFC interim welterweight champion, last fought in March 2022, securing a unanimous decision win over Jorge Masvidal.


Article continues below this ad

via Getty

While the Edwards-Covington title fight had been rumored for months, it didn’t initially sit well with Edwards, who had criticized Covington for “getting rewarded for not taking the fights.” Covington had previously challenged Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title twice but came up short on both occasions.

In conclusion, the MMA world had eagerly awaited Conor McGregor’s return to the Octagon. Speculations and even a fake announcement have fueled the excitement. However, UFC CEO Dana White’s recent announcement has ended those hopes. McGregor not returning to the Octagon this year is more or less certain now.


Article continues below this ad

Instead, fans will witness a high-stakes battle between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington as the former UFC interim welterweight champion ends his hiatus. Do you think Colby Covington has what it takes to dethrone Leon Edwards? And will Conor McGregor return to competition in 2024? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Watch This Story: After Her Controversial Loss AT UFC Noche, Valentina Shevchenko Provides A Worrying Injury Update

Providing feedback will help us make your experience better.

The Fan's Perspective

Enjoyed Your Read? Let us know how likely you are to recommend EssentiallySports to your friends!

Least Likely

Most Likely



Written by:

Dushyant Patni


One take at a time

Dushyant Patni is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. He fell in love with MMA at the tender age of fourteen and his appreciation for the craft has led him to become a practitioner, too. With a master's degree in English and an extensive background as a writer and editor, he uses his technical ability to articulate the nuances of the sport.
Show More>

Edited by:

Rupkamal Sarma