UFC News: Conor McGregor Return Opponent, UFC 2023 Q1 Schedule Announced, UFC Seoul Cancelled?

There has been a massive amount of UFC related news dropping in the past 24 hours, so I decided to put together a post with all of the biggest announcements and updates that we’ve seen so far:

Conor McGregor’s Likely Return Opponent

In a sit-down interview with Brett Okamoto of ESPN, Dana White revealed a potentially huge piece of news when he said that the UFC is currently aiming to have Michael Chandler face Conor McGregor when he returns to the octagon in 2023.

While that isn’t exactly stunning news since Chandler has been actively campaigning for the fight in recent months, it is a bit surprising that White already made the announcement that Chandler will likely be the route the promotion goes for McGregor’s return opponent.

Considering McGregor is easily one of the biggest draws in UFC history, I expect there to be a much larger official announcement once a number of issues surrounding the potential fight are sorted out behind the scenes, including when McGregor can actually return.

McGregor dropped out of the USADA drug-testing program while he has been rehabbing from the injuries he sustained in his most recent fight with Dustin Poirier and there is usually a six-month waiting period before someone can fight once they reenter the program.

However, there is apparently an exception that McGregor could potentially look to exploit that would allow him to return after two clean samples are given. It will be interesting to see how that situation with USADA and McGregor plays out.

While Chandler would certainly be one of the most entertaining options to face McGregor in his return, I still wouldn’t entirely rule out other fighters who have been in the mix, including former UFC Lightweight champion Charles Oliveira.

UFC January-March 2023 Schedule Updates

The UFC also released their schedule for the first quarter of 2023 last night, and there were a handful of interesting things to take away from the announcement.

UFC 2023 Q1 Schedule Release

The biggest news from the release is that the promotion confirmed two new UFC Fight Night events that will be hosted outside of the Apex: March 11th (The Theater at Virgin Hotels, Las Vegas) and March 25th (AT&T Center, San Antonio).

Dana White had mentioned in recent months that the promotion wanted to branch away from hosting so many events at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, so it’s great to see that they currently only have three out of nine announced events scheduled there for 2023 Q1.

It was also confirmed that UFC 286 will be taking place in London, England on March 18th, 2023. It appears the UFC will once again be hosting the event from the O2 Arena, despite their efforts to find a stadium to host the card.

The last piece of news from the schedule release is a depressing tidbit, as it appears one of the events that was heavily rumored for February might be cancelled: UFC Seoul.

Korean Zombie Injured, UFC Seoul In Doubt

UFC Seoul, originally rumored for February 4th, 2023, apparently might be getting moved to another location or cancelled entirely after the date and event were noticeably left off the schedule announcement last night entirely, despite their being multiple fights scheduled already.

The UFC wanted to have “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung headline the event, but that will no longer be an option after the Korean Zombie announced through Instagram that he will not be able to fight at the event. He also apologized to the other fighters who were scheduled in case UFC Seoul is scrapped entirely.

Image of The Korean Zombie’s Shoulder from Instagram

While the UFC Seoul event almost certainly won’t be happening in February as originally planned, I would be surprised if the UFC doesn’t add a replacement card for South Korea later in the year once TKZ has had a chance to heal up.

It’s still unclear as of now what exactly the UFC will do with the date since it was left off the announcement last night, but I would expect them to still host an event that weekend, likely from the UFC Apex.

Who do you want to see face Conor McGregor in his return to the octagon? What other locations would you like to see UFC events in 2023? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section!

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