Dana White boldly predicts UFC returns for Conor McGregor, Jon Jones and Diaz brothers
UFC president Dana White believes Conor McGregor could yet squeeze in two MMA fights in 2018.
'The Notorious' will not be stripped of his lightweight belt if he commits to fighting the winner of - and the undisputed champion arising from - the UFC 223 headliner between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
White was less than clear on that when, in Boston on Friday, announcing that the winner of Ferguson and Nurmagomedov would be the undisputed champ. When reporters tried to press for a definitive answer on McGregor, they were fobbed off.
Aaron Bronsteter of Canadian broadcaster TSN got some clarity on the matter, following the Boston press conference, and also found White in confident mood about the year ahead.
Bronsteter got White to indulge in a game of 2018 predictions and, if most come true, MMA fans could be in for an exciting year. Asked about potential UFC returns in 2018, White predicted three top stars should be back in The Octagon.
"Will Conor McGregor fight more than once in the UFC this year?" White was asked, and offered odds of 7/4 on it happening.
"I'm going to take the odds," White declared, "I'm going to say yes."
Here are the other fighters White predicted would be back in 2018 (and the current bookmakers' odds of it happening):
- Georges St-Pierre (3/2)
- Jon Jones (3/2)
- Brock Lesnar (5/1)
- Either Diaz brother, Nate or Nick (13/10) but White called that "horrible odds"
The only fighter White called 'No' for was former UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, who last appeared in the Octagon on December 30, 2016.
While the promotion claimed 2017 was its' most successful year, much of that was down to McGregor's boxing contest with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and increased commercial deals. In terms of pay-per-view buys in the United States, only two [UFC 215 and UFC 217] brought in more than 400,000.
The UFC could do with some big draws in 2018 and fans would be pleased to see most of White's six men mentioned back in action.
Let's wait and see what the coming months deliver.