Conor McGregor reveals he is close to UFC return against Khabib Nurmagomedov later this year

CONOR McGREGOR reckons he could make his long-awaited UFC return this year in a blockbuster bout against arch-rival Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The former two-weight world champion has not fought since his boxing loss to Floyd Mayweather in August – and his last MMA match was in November 2016.

 Conor McGregor expects to make his UFC return this year

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Conor McGregor expects to make his UFC return this year

When asked how far away his return was, McGregor told TMZ: "Yes, very close. It's not official but close. [In 2018] I believe."

McGregor, 30, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his April attack on Nurmagomedov's bus and must now take anger management classes as well as perform community service.

Moments after the incident, UFC boss Dana White called the attack “the most disgusting thing that has ever happened in the history of the company.”

However, McGregor’s pulling power and mainstream appeal mean the £4billion company cannot afford to axe their golden goose.

Khabib Nurmagomedov 'I want to change Conor McGregor's face and mind'

 Conor McGregor rides around New York city in video posted to Instagram

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Conor McGregor rides around New York city in video posted to Instagram
 UFC superstar Conor McGregor shows off his stunning motor

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UFC superstar Conor McGregor shows off his stunning motor
 Conor McGregor gives a shout out to Irishmen all over the world

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Conor McGregor gives a shout out to Irishmen all over the world
 Conor McGregor is aiming at a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov this year

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Conor McGregor is aiming at a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov this year
 Conor McGregor's return is set to be against fierce rival Khabib Nurmagomedov

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Conor McGregor's return is set to be against fierce rival Khabib Nurmagomedov

UFC fighter Conor McGregor speaks after pleading guilty to charges over brawl at the Barclays Center arena in New York

And it looks like Las Vegas will host his big comeback.

McGregor said: "I love New York city and I'd love to fight in Madison Square Garden again, but I believe this one will be Las Vegas."

Lightweight champ Nurmagomedov, 29, won the belt in April after McGregor was stripped of it for inactivity.

The Russian does not intend to give it up.

He said: "I can’t believe we’re going to fight, because I really want this guy.

“Make him humble, a little bit teach him, and not only smash but change his face. I want to change his face. Of course, with face I can change his mind, too.”

CONOR McGREGOR reckons he could make his long-awaited UFC return this year in a blockbuster bout against arch-rival Khabib Nurmagomedov.