Former two-weight UFC champion Conor McGregor has claimed that he is 'very close' to a return to the octagon and that he wants a fight before the end of the year.
McGregor is cleared to fight in the UFC again after agreeing a plea deal in a US court following charges of assault and criminal mischief.
The Dubliner was accused of throwing a metal hand cart at a bus carrying UFC fighters at an event in Brooklyn in April.
The mixed martial arts fighter and fellow MMA fighter Cian Cowley pleaded guilty to reduced charges in return for community service and agreeing to attend anger management programmes as part of their plea deal.
WIth his court case now behind him, UFC president Dana White has confirmed that McGregor will face no additional punishment from the organisation, clearing the way for a grudge match with Khabib Nurmagomedov before the end of the year.
When asked by TMZ whether or not he'll be back in action before the end of the year, he said: "Yes, very close. It’s not official but we are close. I believe [it will be in 2018], I hope so.
"I’d love to fight in Madison Square Garden again, but I believe this one will be in Las Vegas. I love New York city, to be able to be here free, as a free man. Walking around this place… what a city."
Russia's Nurmagomedov currently holds the lightweight title that was stripped from McGregor and is eager to face the Irishman.
"I can believe we are going to fight," he said. "I want this guy so I can make him humble, to teach him.
"Not only to smash him, to change his face - I want to change his face. Of course when I change his face I will change his mind too. This is what I want."