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Conor McGregor 'Confident' He’ll Be Back After Withdrawing from UFC 303



While Conor McGregor’s absence from mixed martial arts will now extend beyond three years, the Irishman remains optimistic regarding his future.

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The former two-division champion released a statement on Saturday addressing his withdrawal from the UFC 303 headliner against Michael Chandler. The June 29 welterweight bout was expected to be McGregor’s first Octagon appearance since breaking his leg in a loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 in July 2021.

“Very tough to be ruled out of my scheduled return bout,” McGregor wrote on social media. “I picked up an injury prior to the press conference that required more time to heal than was available to me. The decision to postpone the fight was not made lightly, but one made in consultation with my doctors, the UFC, and my team. My fans and opponent deserve me at my best for this fight and we will get there! Thank you for the messages of support, I am in good spirits and confident I’ll be back!”

The exact nature of McGregor’s injury remains unclear. Speculation that the UFC 303 headliner might be in jeopardy began when the aforementioned press conference in Dublin was canceled less than 24 hours before the event. While MMA journalist Ariel Helwani reported that there was initially some hope that the original UFC 303 main event could remain intact, it was ultimately determined that McGregor would not be healthy enough to compete in time for International Fight Week.

As a result, Chandler was also pulled from the card. The bout is expected to be rebooked at a later date. However, it is unknown exactly when that might be. Chandler also recently reacted to the cancellation on social media.

“[Conor McGregor] was never the safe bet as an opponent, he was always the highest risk. Maybe the highest reward… but the biggest opportunity. There is no right or wrong in business… you only take risk to grow, or remain comfortable where you are. Embrace the uncertainty. Seek the opportunity. Take calculated risk… That’s what [Michael Chandler] does,” read a statement from Chandler in conjunction with sponsor Megafit Meals.

“And if it doesn’t go as planned... redirect the course to something even more great. Our respect to the man who represents the fight world better than anyone we’ve ever known. NO FEAR. NO LIMITS. NO EXCUSES. Make hard work your passion - who cares who’s on the other side of the punch.”

In the meantime, the Las Vegas-based promotion did well to salvage the UFC 303 pay-per-view draw on short notice. A light heavyweight championship rematch pitting Alex Pereira against Jiri Prochazka was announced as the new main event, while a featherweight clash between Brian Ortega and Diego Lopes was also added to the card. Additionally, Anthony Smith stepped in to replace the injured Jahamal Hill and face Carlos Ulberg in another 205-pound pairing.

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