CONOR McGREGOR looks set to delay his UFC return, Dana White revealed.
The Irishman, 33, has not fought since breaking his leg in his defeat to Dustin Poirier in July.
He was initially expected to be back in action in the summer.
But the UFC president confirmed that date is likely to be pushed towards the end of the year.
And when he does step back into the octagon, White suggested it could be to challenge for a world title.
White told Aaron Bronsteter: "When Conor is able to come back we'll see.
"Conor's probably not going to be back until the early fall.
"So we'll see who's where and what's what, how it lays out.
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"I have no idea. We'll see what happens when he comes back.
"Who has the title has a lot of say in who he fights too."
McGregor has not won a lightweight UFC fight since way back in November 2016 when he secured the world title against Eddie Alvarez.
Since being stripped of the title due to inactivity, he has lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov, won at welterweight and then lost twice to Poirier.
But despite slipping to ninth in the lightweight rankings, his next bout could see him challenging for the belt.
Charles Oliveira is the current holder and is likely to retain that status when he takes on Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 on May 7.
But both Oliveira and McGregor would be keen to scrap it out next.
The Brazilian told Sherdog: "Not only him, but also myself and all the world wants to see that fight. So let's make it happen.
"It may be in welterweight, lightweight or middleweight, with my title on the line or not. Just choose and I'll be ready.”
'I'LL BE BACK'
McGregor has been tipped to make a change in weight division for his next comeback as pictures revealed his incredible body transformation.
The Notorious could even face YouTuber Jake Paul in a money-spinning showdown next while a trilogy bout with Nate Diaz is also on the cards.
For now, though, he is focussing on getting back to full fighting fitness.
McGregor said: "April I should be back sparring. I'll gauge it all then – I'd like a title, a title, I'd feel a belt.
"We'll see what happens with the weight, I'm feeling nice and strong, I'm getting there day by day.
"I'm only 33 years of age, I'm unscathed, never been bust up in the face, never scratched in the face so I'll be back.
"I'm advised to take it easy, but I'm shadowboxing a lot and I'm figuring out what way I'm developing a style."
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