Dana White praises "loyal" Conor McGregor ahead of UFC star’s return to octagon

UFC president Dana White has praised Conor McGregor for his loyalty as the former two-weight world champion gears up for his return to the octagon.

McGregor broke his tibia against Dustin Poirier in their UFC 264 trilogy fight earlier this year and has been sidelined since the injury.

The Irishman plans to return to full contact sparring in April and book his next fight shortly after that.

White has praised McGregor in the past for his willingness to fight anyone and persevere through injuries to keep fight cards alive.

Such was the case when McGregor won the interim featherweight title in 2015, facing late replacement Chad Mendes whilst dealing with a knee injury of his own.

And the UFC president listed McGregor along with former fighters such as Ronda Rousey as "incredibly loyal".

"There's been a lot of fighters that have been incredibly loyal to me and I've been incredibly loyal to them," White told 'THE FIGHT with Teddy Atlas'.

"Conor McGregor's one of them. Conor's a f****** handful boy, but when you look at the way fighters are built, they're different to everybody else on this planet.

"The Ronda Rouseys, Chuck Liddells, Matt Hughes, Conor McGregor, I don't want to not mention people but there's been a lot of fighters over the last 20 years that have been very loyal."

McGregor faces a hefty cut down to lightweight upon his UFC return after bulking up to "190lbs of granite" in his time away from the sport.

The No.9 ranked lightweight has called for a title shot against Charles Oliveira next year, despite only having one win at the weight class in five years.

White has not ruled out the chances of McGregor leapfrogging top contender Justin Gaethje to fight Oliveira.

And McGregor's longtime training partner Peter Queally thinks another shot at the belt could be next for 'Notorious'.

"It sounds like the belt might happen next to be honest," Queally told Mirror Fighting.

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"Normally in this sport, when you've got two fighters that want the same thing, that's what happens.

"So Charles wants this fight with Conor, Conor wants this fight with Charles and normally that's what happens especially if there's money to be made, which there is."

McGregor would be fighting for the first time since undergoing surgery on his leg and on the back of consecutive stoppage losses.

But Queally still fancies his chances, stating: "For sure he can beat Charles. Obviously it's not ideal to be out that long with an injury.

"Charles has shown himself to be somebody that is a brilliant fighter but someone who gets hit.

"I always say that if you're a fighter that gets hit against Conor, it's bad news for you! So I can see him winning that fight."

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