Conor McGregor headlined UFC's first PPV of 2020, defeating Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone in just 46 seconds. After that, he stated that he wanted to be active in 2020 and that it would be another fight season for him.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic happened, and post-March, UFC was forced to hold the rest of the year's events without crowds present. That was a big blow to their live gate revenue, and it was cited as a reason why Conor McGregor didn't fight again in 2020 despite being ready to.
Dana White spoke to Caroline Pearce of BT Sport and explained that while it's not good to see Conor McGregor fight without fans, that wasn't the actual reason behind his absence for the rest of 2020:
"No. It definitely sucks to have Conor not fight with fans. But that wasn't the reason the fights didn't happen. It just didn't work out. I think Conor, originally, when it first happened, was like 'I don't know about fighting without fans', then he saw how the fights were going. There's always these little things that happen in the sport, and people like to sit back and say 'Let's see how this plays out'. I think when I said that I was going to get through COVID, a lot of people were skeptical, and Conor was one of them".
When asked about Conor McGregor having yet another retirement in 2020, Dana White explained that he was frustrated about things that were beyond UFC's control.
'He was frustrated about a lot of things beyond our control. And it just gets to the point where I'm not going to deal with his aggravation right now. I'm not going to let this drive me crazy when the world is shutting down and all these other things are going on'
Where does Conor McGregor stand in the Lightweight division?
For the second year in a row, Conor McGregor will headline UFC's first PPV of the calendar year. Conor McGregor takes on Dustin Poirier in a rematch over six and a half years in the making, and the two men seem to be more motivated than ever.
We've seen how far a motivated Conor McGregor can get, but Dustin Poirier will prove to be a tough test. If he's able to get past The Diamond, then there's no doubt that he will be next in line for a title shot. Ultimately, it all depends on Khabib Nurmagomedov as well, and whether Dana White can convince him to return for fight No. 30.Published 17 Dec 2020, 10:36 IST