The timeline for Conor McGregor's return to the Octagon is anyone's guess, and Dana White has adjusted his hopes accordingly.
Speaking with ESPN's SportsCenter on Thursday, the UFC president said he and the reigning lightweight champ have not discussed a return to action, although he aims to see McGregor in the cage again this summer.
"I haven’t talked to Conor about fighting, we talk about other things but like I said before, he made a lot of money and I’m sure him and his family had an amazing Christmas," White said, per MMANYTT's Damon Martin. "Get through the holidays and hopefully he starts to get the itch to come back and hopefully we can get him back this summer."
The promotion had hoped McGregor would get back in the saddle before the year was out following his lucrative August boxing match opposite Floyd Mayweather, but the Irishman has remained noncommittal on his next move while campaigning for a stake in the UFC. The Dublin native has yet to defend the lightweight title he captured 13 months ago, prompting the promotion to crown an interim champion in Tony Ferguson - who claimed his title in a fight with Kevin Lee at UFC 216 and has since undergone minor elbow surgery.
White had been adamant about unifying the divisional throne with a McGregor vs. Ferguson matchup next, but given the uncertainty surrounding McGregor's future, he floated the possibility of seeing Ferguson face the winner of UFC 219's co-main event instead, with the victor of the bout then meeting the highly coveted Dubliner.
"We have Khabib (Nurmagomedov) and Edson Barboza (fighting at UFC 219), two more of the top guys in that division so this is going to shake out," White told FOX Sports 1 on Thursday. "It’s going to be interesting. If whoever wins the Barboza-Khabib fight while we’re trying to figure out this Conor mess, could end up fighting Tony Ferguson for the opportunity to fight Conor McGregor so we’ll see."
Nurmagomedov, for one, has echoed White's stance on more than one occasion, stating his desire to determine the world's preeminent lightweight in a date with Ferguson - assuming he gets past Barboza, whom he'll face Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.