The return of Conor McGregor is almost certain. After months of speculation, the anticipated lightweight showdown between McGregor and former interim champion Dustin Poirier is now close to being official:
Dana White provided an update on the Poirier-McGregor rematch, which would currently take place on Fight Island.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 10, 2020
Reacting to news earlier today that the fight is official, White said it is not but confirmed that Poirier has signed the contract. McGregor has yet to sign but the Irishman already verbally confirmed last month that he is accepting the offer.
Once McGregor sends his contract, the two former lightweight belt holders will clash at the main event of UFC 257 on January 23, 2021.
The event still doesn’t have a venue and it’s expected to take place in Las Vegas although UFC President Dana White hinted to ESPN that it could happen at Fight Island, depending “where the world will be at in a couple of months”.
Where the fight happens is only secondary though. What’s important is that McGregor will finally fight for the first time after one year and five days.
First Fight in Over a Year
It can be recalled that the last time McGregor was seen inside the UFC Octagon was on January 18, 2020 when he knocked out Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone inside one round in a five-round welterweight bout at UFC 246 in Las Vegas. After that bout, McGregor talked about wanting to have a busy year after only two fights in the previous two years.
Conor McGregor accepts the Dustin Poirier fight on Jan. 23, but wants the venue to be AT&T Stadium, formerly Cowboys Stadium, in Texas.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) October 14, 2020
But the health crisis spoiled McGregor’s plans and caused the entire sporting world to pause in March. When the UFC returned for business in May, the promotion already had a busy schedule and McGregor announced in June that he was retiring from MMA. After a controversial arrest in France, McGregor made new by announcing that he has agreed to fight boxer Manny Pacquiao in 2021.
In an interesting twist, McGregor then booked himself to a charity MMA bout against Dustin Poirier. The UFC was quick to capitalize on that by offering both fighters contracts to fight each other. McGregor accepted the offer verbally but it appeared that the UFC was having problems getting Poirier to sign his name on the dotted line. That difficult part is done with and making the fight official may just be a matter of formality that White doesn’t want to give reporters.
Coming to Terms With Poirier
Coming to terms with Dustin Poirier was the difficult part. The UFC had been trying to book Poirier to a fight as early as UFC 254 when he was being linked to a high-profile fight with Tony Ferguson which would serve as the co-main event for Khabib vs Gaethje at Fight Island. But Poirier claimed that the UFC was trying to low ball him. The Ferguson bout never came to fruition.
The Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier rematch is inching closer to reality.
Poirier has signed a bout agreement to fight on 1/23.
McGregor, per sources, hasn’t yet, however, he verbally agreed last month and is not expected to be a hurdle in making the bout a reality.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) November 10, 2020
Surprisingly, the Diamond agreed to McGregors’s offer for an exhibition MMA match in Ireland. Under that personal agreement, McGregor was going to donate $500K to Poirier’s The Good Fight Foundation while also spending for the American’s expenses in Ireland. But the UFC stepped in and booked the two to a UFC-sanctioned bout instead.
Again, the promotion found it difficult to get Poirier to sign the contract. It got so worse that yesterday, the UFC was already considering looking for a replacement opponent for the Irishman with Justin Gaethje’s name emerging as a potential candidate. In the end, Poirier finally agreed to the terms and the fight should now proceed as planned.
Not the First Time
This is not the first time that these two men have fought inside the Octagon. McGregor knocked out Poirier in one round at UFC178. That win led to a main event fight against Denis Siver, which in turn led to an interim title bout against Chad Mendes. The rest as they say is history as McGregor would become the biggest star that MMA has ever seen.
— SevereMMA.com (@SevereMMA) November 27, 2015
The Notorious enters the rematch as a current -215 betting underdog according to SportsBetting.ag. Meanwhile, Poirier is currently listed at +185. The no. 2 ranked lightweight is coming off a win over Dan Hooker last June. That was Poirier’s first bout since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242.
Poirier has lost just twice since UFC 178 with 10 wins and a no-contest. McGregor is 3-2 in his last five UFC bouts and these two fighters are in the thick of the fight to become the next lightweight champion after Khabib’s sudden retirement. This bout was initially thought to be an interim lightweight title fight. That has not been announced but it won’t be surprise if it would be declared as such.
Steve Richardson started writing content online in 2013 and has yet to slow down. Since joining our team at GamblingSites.org, he has covered sports, casino news, gambling laws, and much more! …