Conor McGregor will officially return to the Octagon at UFC 257 on January 23, where he’ll fight Dustin Poirier in a rematch seven years in the making. According to ESPN, McGregor inked his deal to fight Poirier in the 155-pound bout that is currently without a location but expected to be contested at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
While the bout between two contenders could make sense for the vacant lightweight title considering Khabib Nurmagomedov’s recent retirement, UFC president Dana White recently ruled that possibility out. After Nurmagomdeov revealed on Instagram that he was recently tested by USADA, White speculated that because Nurmagomedov (28-0) is still in testing, he would eventually return to the cage with an aim of hitting the 30-0 benchmark.
McGregor hasn’t fought since he TKO’d Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds in January. With no opportunity to make good on his promise to fight three times in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he’s settling with an opportunity to climb right back into title contention with his fight against Poirier.
Poirier is also looking for an opening to get back to fighting for UFC gold, holding his lone victory — a decision over Dan Hooker — since he was submitted by Nurmagomedov in their title unification bout in 2019. Poirier’s original fight against McGregor came in 2014, where he suffered a first-round knockout at the hands of the former two-division champion.