Cliffs Conor has been ready and willing to fight since late 2017; the UFC's refusal to meet his price has been the only roadblock. Conor has tried to step into TWO different fights since then; versus Frankie and versus Khabib. Conor has been planning to fight Khabib for at least three years. He went to Brooklyn to try and get or at least promote the Khabib fight. Longer cliffs Spoiler The reason Conor hasn't returned to the UFC is his prolonged negotiations with the UFC. He's been willing and able to return since late 2017. The UFC have been holding out, unwilling to meet his price. Conor has been in fighting shape all this time, ready to take a fight at a moment's notice. The UFC has been trying to build other stars like Cody Garbrandt, Francis Ngannou, Max Holloway, to build leverage against Conor. Conor offered to step in and replace Max against Frankie at UFC 222. The UFC were unwilling to consider the idea, with Dana citing "not enough time to promote" as the reason. In reality, the UFC were still unwilling to give in to Conor's demands, hoping the winner of Ferguson/Khabib would become the legitimate LW champ to add leverage against Conor. Unfortunately for the UFC, Tony got injured and was pulled from the fight. The UFC were in a bad spot in that between Khabib and whomever he fought, it'd be tough to class the winner as the legitimate champ, considering both Conor and Tony also had belts. Max Holloway was called to replace Tony Ferguson in the fight. This idea seemed sketchy, considering Max's recent injury and his weight, in relation to the short notice call. Conor made plans to fly to Brooklyn in order to step in as replacement in the likely event that one would be needed considering Max's condition and Khabib's history as a pullout merchant. At the very least, Conor would have the opportunity to appear at media day and promote his return, stacking the leverage against the UFC. On the 2015 McGregor/Aldo World Tour, Conor predicted that Khabib would champ by the time Conor moved up to take the title. This was before Khabib had even sniffed a main event slot, and showed that Khabib has always been on Conor's radar; that he's always been planning to fight him. As mentioned, Conor was on his way to Brooklyn, Then fight week, Khabib confronted Artem and posted the video on social media. By media day, the stage was set for Conor to appear at media day and the presser to hype the fight and gain more leverage against the UFC. Unfortunately, Conor's flight was late, and he arrived late; he was forced to adapt, but his goal remained the same: confront Khabib. Then the bus indicent occurred. Of course, Conor overestimated Khabib's honor; he pegged him as the legend that he's protrayed to be; the stereotypical cold Russian who wrestles bears for fun. Khabib proved the stereotype was just that and nothing more, by refusing any interaction with Conor, instead choosing to hide on the bus. As expected, there was a pullout, as Max didn't make it to the fight. Unfortunately, Conor now had legal obligations, and was unable to step into the fight that he was preparing for. Conor was cutting weight through everything that happened in Brooklyn, further indicating his desire to fight. Had Conor gotten to Brooklyn just 15 minutes earlier, his plan woulda fallen into place. He'd have at least gotten the hype and leverage, giving the UFC the incentive to use him as Max's replacement, instead of Al Iaquinta. Repeatedly, through all of this, some of the less educated fans have claimed "Conor will never fight Khabib" or even "Conor is never coming back". Finally, Conor vs. Khabib will take place on October 6 at UFC 229.