McGregor targeting UFC return in 2019

After 10 months away from UFC, ex-featherweight and lightweight champion Conor McGregor is aiming to make his return before the end of 2019.

Conor McGregor is aiming for a UFC return in 2019 after eight months away from the octagon.   -  Getty Images

Conor McGregor is targeting a UFC comeback before the end of 2019 and is not concerned by who he fights.

Former featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor has not fought since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018.

In March, McGregor took to Twitter to claim he had retired from mixed martial arts, though he has subsequently changed his stance.

The 31-year-old, who has been embroiled in controversy out of the octagon in recent weeks, is now aiming to make a comeback by the close of the year.

"I want my world title back and I want that redemption," McGregor told ESPN.

"If you're asking me who, whoever, if Dustin [Poirier] goes in and does it, if Nate [Diaz], if it's Jorge [Masvidal].

"I don't know. I don't even know Jorge that well, I've seen the last two and I saw the Al Iaquinta bout, but I mean anyone.

"Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje, a [Max] Holloway rematch, Jose Aldo rematch. There's so many belts for me, so many.

READ | Conor McGregor: Retirement? I'll fight until the day I die

"In reality, it does not matter who. It's just about me getting back in. I would say we can get that done. 

"I'm already in shape. I have not lost my condition so I'm in shape. I just need to sharpen up the grappling and just see how the grip feels on the wrist and things like that. 

"But I can punch fully so I would say so. I would look for the end of the year."

McGregor also explained he had been due to return to UFC in July, only for a hand injury sustained in sparring to rule him out of contention.

"We scheduled a spar with another up-and-comer but the gloves are so small, the room for injury and damage is so high," he added.

"Originally I couldn't grapple until September but I saw my surgeon and he said I can grapple now so I'm going to go back into that.

"I haven't stopped kicking and I haven't stopped with my conditioning, so let's get it going now - I'm excited."