Is Conor McGregor in the USADA testing pool? UFC star’s eligibility explained ahead of potential comeback

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Conor McGregor has officially re-entered the USADA testing pool, with the UFC megastar poised for a return to the Octagon in 2024.

After initially being sidelined due to an injury suffered against Dustin Poirier, the former dual-division champion has been pushing for a comeback, with a showdown against Michael Chandler originally slated for this year.

The 35-year-old had been out of the drug testing program since his last fight in July 2021, but news broke on Wednesday night confirming the Irishman was back 

McGregor could potentially fight as early as next April, with his likely opponent at welterweight still expected to be Chandler, with the pair opposing each other as coaches on a recent season of The Ultimate Fighter. 

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UFC star Conor McGregor re-enters USADA testing pool

In a statement released by USADA, McGregor will now be able to return to competition in six months’ time if he passes all necessary testing protocols. 

“We can confirm that Conor McGregor has re-entered the USADA testing pool as of Sunday, October 8, 2023,” the statement said.

“We have been clear and firm with the UFC that there should be no exception given by the UFC for McGregor to fight until he has returned two negative tests and been in the pool for at least six months.

“The rules also allow USADA to keep someone in the testing pool longer before competing based on their declarations upon entry in the pool and testing results.”

In the same statement however, it was confirmed that as of January, the UFC and their own anti-doping program will no longer be governed by USADA, leaving an air of uncertainty around the promotion and McGregor’s future. 

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BREAKING: USADA announces that Conor McGregor has re-entered the UFC’s anti-doping program and states that as of January 1, 2024, they will no longer be overseeing the UFC’s anti-doping program. pic.twitter.com/H4X3gITvzW

— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) October 11, 2023

McGregor (22-6) was once the hottest star in the UFC, but has been largely inactive over the past five years and has lost three out of his past four fights, including the infamous defeat at the hands of Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018. 

When will Conor McGregor return to UFC?

After over two years on the sidelines, McGregor is now expected to return in the first-half of 2024.

With his re-entry to the USADA testing pool in October, the likelihood is the former featherweight and lightweight ace will be back in the cage by April of next year.

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