Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor is not in attendance tonight as Khabib Nurmagomedov defends his lightweight title against Dustin Poirier.

The Irishman was choked out by the champion last October as he failed to win back his belt.

He has not fought since but has consistently clamoured for a rematch with Nurmagomedov and speculation had been rife that he would make the trip to Abu Dhabi for UFC 242.

But UFC president Dana White revealed this week that McGregor would not be cageside.

"He won't be here. I talk to Conor, normally, twice a month but I talked to him this morning. He won't be here but he'll be watching," he told ESPN.

McGregor is likely to be watching back home in Ireland as he recovers from a broken hand.

The 31-year-old suffered the injury during a sparring session but hopes to return to the UFC either late this year or early in 2020.

"It's all going to depend on his hand and how long it takes to recover," he told ESPN.

McGregor recently said that although he wants to fight Nurmagomedov again, he will not wait around for the champion.

"I'm not going to wait around, if Dustin does it, it's Dustin, if it's Nate [Diaz], Nate, if it's Jorge [Masvidal], Jorge… Tony Ferguson, Justin [Gaethje], [Max] Holloway, the [Jose] Aldo rematch," he told ESPN.

"Frankie Edgar is also up there because he has similarities to Khabib, he runs on the back foot and shoots on the single leg.

"Frankie has been very respectful, he said he wanted to tell his grandkids he fought Conor McGregor one day.

"There are so many bouts for me but it doesn't matter, it's about getting back in and being who I am, not a shell of myself, not half-committed."

When asked if he planned to fight this year, McGregor paused before confirming he could.

"It's hard… I'd say we can get it done," he added.

"I'm already in shape, I haven't lost my condition, I just need to sharpen up the grappling. I would look for that, for the end of the year."

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