Dana White ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if Conor McGregor returns from retirement next year

Former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor is retired … for now.

Ahead of the launch of “Fight Island” this weekend, UFC president Dana White addressed the Irish superstar and his future after he made a surprise announcement in June that he was calling it a career.

McGregor said at the time that he was frustrated with matchmaking and didn’t see any opponents available that truly interested him. White later stated that he hadn’t talked with McGregor and for all intents and purposes, he was treating him as a retired athlete.

That said, White now says he wouldn’t be shocked if McGregor decides to fight again, perhaps in the aftermath of the lightweight title being decided when Khabib Nurmagomedov clashes with Justin Gaethje later this year.

“As of right now, he’s retired,” White told Colin Cowherd on Wednesday.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he came out and wanted to fight somebody next year after all these different fights play out.”

McGregor returned from more than a year long layoff in January when he dispatched Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in less than one minute into the opening round of their fight. Afterwards, McGregor said he was looking at 2020 as a season with plans to compete several more times.

As days expired into weeks and then weeks into months, McGregor still hadn’t booked another fight and then the coronavirus pandemic brought almost the entire world to a grinding halt.

Since that time, McGregor teased potential fights but nothing ever came to fruition.

In his absence, Gaethje made the most of a short notice opportunity with a lopsided TKO win over Tony Ferguson to claim the interim UFC lightweight title. That set him up with a showdown against Nurmagomedov to determine an undisputed 155-pound champion.

Unfortunately, McGregor is now left on the outside looking in when it comes to the lightweight title race, which obviously played a part in his decision to retire from competition.

Despite that declaration, White isn’t so sure we’ve seen the last of “The Notorious.”

“There’s no doubt that Conor McGregor’s one of the best in the world,” White said. “What’s going on with Conor McGregor is what goes on with all professional fighters when they become extremely wealthy and Conor McGregor is rich.

“He gets to pick and choose what he wants to do now and he’s at that point in his career where he’s got a few fights left.”

Judging by those comments, White isn’t ready to write off McGregor just yet even with his latest retirement.