In the world of MMA, few things stir up excitement like the anticipation of a comeback. Such is the case with Conor McGregor, the charismatic Irishman whose absence has been keenly felt by fans across the globe. Recently, he has been dropping hints about a potential return, and if true, it would undoubtedly be a highlight event in the UFC calendar.

The buzz around McGregor’s potential comeback amplified when Justin Gaethje secured the “BMF” championship with a stunning head-kick knockout victory over Dustin Poirier. Always one to seize the moment, McGregor took to Twitter to make his prediction: a swift knockout victory in the event of a potential face-off against Gaethje inside the octagon. This one-word tweet left his fans both baffled and excited, adding to the whirlpool of speculation.

Gaethje initially dismissed the idea of fighting ‘The Notorious.’ He shrugged off McGregor’s tweet during the UFC 291 post-fight press conference, rejecting the possibility of such a showdown. However, in an unexpected twist, Gaethje hinted at a change of heart with a later tweet, challenging McGregor to sign a contractual agreement for what is set to be a highly anticipated fight. This turn of events added fuel to the fire of speculation, inciting a wave of reactions from fans and fellow fighters alike.

Fan reactions were swift and varied. One passionate follower pleaded, “Don’t play games with us,” while others were quick to express their hope, excitement, and in some cases, even their concern for other fighters. A group of fans, well-acquainted with McGregor’s knack for theatrics, capitalised on the intrigue by creating and sharing humorous memes, adding a lighthearted element to the developments.

In another interesting turn, former UFC lightweight title challenger Nate Diaz threw his hat into the conversation ring. He believed that the next fight to be made was indeed between Conor McGregor and Justin Gaethje, offering his endorsement for the matchup and taking a dig at Gaethje’s earlier response. Diaz criticised Gaethje for acting aloof, asserting that there was no one else worthy for Gaethje to fight.

The back-and-forth continued as Gaethje responded to McGregor’s prediction of a “one shot” knockout victory. Though initially dismissive, Gaethje seemed to shift gears, entertaining the idea of fighting the former two-division champ. He alleged that McGregor had previously turned him down on six occasions about a potential fight, marking an interesting progression in their dynamic.

Despite the growing intrigue, uncertainty still surrounds McGregor’s return. He remains somewhat of a wildcard after agreeing to coach The Ultimate Fighter 31 opposite Michael Chandler. The uncertainty was only exacerbated when a drug testing deadline passed for McGregor to participate on the year-end UFC 296 card without an exemption from UFC’s drug testing partner U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. UFC President Dana White has refrained from ruling out McGregor’s participation this year, leaving the star’s next move anyone’s guess.

Former UFC two-division champion Henry Cejudo decided to chime in with his perspective. He advised Gaethje to think about the potential profit of fighting McGregor over the prospect of winning a title. Cejudo argued that the financial reward from a McGregor fight would far outstrip any future championships, adding yet another layer to this fascinating story.

In this high stakes game of words and predictions, the potential McGregor-Gaethje clash has the MMA world in its grip. Each tweet, each public endorsement, and each response only adds to the anticipation. Regardless of when and where it happens, one thing is clear – the return of ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor to the UFC is an event that fans across the globe eagerly await.