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Conor McGregor set to return in 'early 2023' and Justin Gaethje is the front-runner to be his opponent

Conor McGregor set to return in 'early 2023' and Justin Gaethje is the front-runner to be his opponent

Conor McGregor's UFC return appears set as Justin Gaethje emerges as front-runner to be his opponent.

Conor McGregor appears set to return to the UFC in 'early 2023' and Justin Gaethje is the 'front-runner' to welcome him back to the Octagon.

The 'Notorious' is closing in on his UFC comeback, having recovered from the leg break suffered in his last outing.

He hasn't fought since his TKO defeat last summer but seems in line to return to action early next year.

That's according to MMA Pack, who claim McGregor will fight at welterweight and Gaethje is the leading candidate to be his opponent.

What's more, McGregor has liked the post revealing the supposed details of his next fight on Instagram.

The Irishman is currently on a two-fight losing skid following his back-to-back defeats to Dustin Poirier.

Gaethje, meanwhile, hasn't fought since his submission defeat to Charles Oliveira for the UFC lightweight title.

The American has fought the majority of his career at lightweight but is reportedly set to compete at 170lbs to take on McGregor.

'The Highlight' recently took aim at McGregor when discussing a potential match-up and accused the UFC star of being on steroids amid his body transformation.

"If everybody would just remember correctly, I fought Cowboy, I beat him and then he fought Cowboy right after that [at UFC 246 in January 2020]," he told MMA Fighting.

"I was primed and ready to go. It sounds to me like he’s off taking steroids right now.

"He hasn’t been drug tested by USADA in quite some time. I’m looking for fair competition."

Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

Gaethje added: "If he’s on steroids, then give me steroids and let’s go, I’m down with that.

"My health is my biggest factor. I have never taken a performance-enhancing drug, and I do not want to fight people that are taking performance enhancing drugs."

Will McGregor vs. Gaethje take place in the first quarter of 2023? Watch this space.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Alamy

Topics: Conor McGregor, Justin Gaethje, UFC