Conor McGregor will be returning to the UFC for his next fight after all. "The Notorious" took to Twitter to announce he had accepted a fight against Dustin Poirier, set to take place on January 23. He wants the bout to take place at AT&T Stadium in Texas because he thinks he can pack the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
McGregor last fought on January 18 at UFC 246 when he knocked out Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds with a head kick and punches. He discussed fighting as many as three times in 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic shut down those plans.
For weeks, McGregor has been focused on a potential boxing match against Manny Pacquiao but apparently negotiations haven't progressed. It's likely he sensed he might lose some juice by not fighting for more than a year, so he pivoted to the Poirier fight.
A bout with Poirier will be a rematch, as two men fought at UFC 178 back in September of 2014. McGregor won by knockout 1:46 into the first round. The two fighters have expressed admiration for each other in the years since their bout.
Poirier is currently the No. 2 ranked lightweight in the UFC and is ranked eighth in the organization's pound-for-pound rankings. He won a unanimous decision over Dan Hookier in June that ran his record to 26-6. That followed a UFC lightweight championship bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov where he was submitted in the third round at UFC 242 in September of 2019. Prior to the title bout, Poirier had won five of six fights, with the only non-win coming in a no-contest ruling when Eddie Alvarez hit him out using illegal knees.
This is going to be a real fight, the UFC isn't serving up a chump for McGregor to put to sleep. Poirier is one of the best lightweights in the world and will present serious challenges for the former two division champ.
Prior to the Cerrone fight, McGregor hadn't been in the Octagon since October 2018, when he was submitted by Nurmagomedov in the fourth round of their lightweight title bout. Before that, he hadn't fought in the UFC since knocking out Eddie Alvarez to win the lightweight belt at UFC 205 in November of 2016. So he's only had three UFC fights in more than four years.
This should be a great fight and it's likely it will headline UFC 257, which has yet to be announced.