USADA: Conor McGregor expected to re-enter drug testing pool ‘immediately’

The biggest hurdle in the way of Conor McGregor’s return to the UFC is close to being removed.

McGregor (22-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC), a former two-division UFC champion, is expected to officially rejoin the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) drug testing program “immediately,” according to a statement MMA Junkie acquired from the company.

After suffering a broken leg in his trilogy bout with Dustin Poirier in July 2021, McGregor withdrew from the testing program in what was considered a “retirement” from the sport. He has not been tested at all in 2022 or 2023, but with a planned return to the octagon to face Michael Chandler this year, the Irishman is now making moves.

“We have recently been in direct contact with Conor McGregor, and as he confirmed today in the media, we expect to receive his paperwork coming out of retirement and re-entering the USADA testing pool immediately,” USADA wrote in a statement. “Like other athletes who come out of retirement, under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, McGregor will be subject to testing for at least six months and must provide at least two negative samples before being permitted to compete. The purpose of this rule is to ensure that all athletes who are not subject to a period of testing are adequately tested over a reasonable period of time before competing to ensure a level playing field for all athletes.”

There has been plenty of speculation about exactly why McGregor withdrew from the USADA pool. He’s indicated on social media that it was the best solution to achieving a full recovery from his significant leg injury, but his physique has evolved in the 22 months since he last competed, as well.

McGregor previously claimed he would receive an exception to trim down the USADA protocols and allow him to fight as soon as he wanted, but USADA has been bullish that would not be the case, which it reiterated again in the statement.

During an interview with Matchroom Boxing ahead of Saturday’s Katie Taylor boxing match in Dublin, McGregor said he is targeting his fight with Chandler (23-8 MMA, 2-3 UFC) for December. If he returns to the USADA program in the next few weeks, that timeline would be achievable.

Before he steps in the cage, McGregor will appear in a coaching role opposite Chandler on Season 31 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, which debuts May 31 and airs on ESPN.

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie