Former UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor is set to make his return to competition. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reports that McGregor and former UFC interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier have signed bout agreements to fight each other at lightweight. The fight will happen at UFC 257 on January 23, 2021, with a venue to be determined. Their first fight resulted in McGregor defeating Poirier by knockout at UFC 178 on September 27, 2014, at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
McGregor has been vocal about not being able to compete enough this year. His last fight was a victory over Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 on January 18th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. McGregor tried to negotiate with the UFC about fighting more this year, but both sides couldn’t come to terms. He requested to fight Poirier this December, but the UFC insisted on January 23rd instead.
Poirier is looking to have another opportunity to become the lightweight champion. His last win was against Dan Hooker by unanimous decision at UFC on ESPN 12 on June 27th at the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. Since his loss to McGregor in 2014, Poirier has won 10 out of his last 13 fights.
This fight also has championship implications. Both fighters are ranked within the top five of the lightweight division(Poirier #2 and McGregor #4). The current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has claimed he’s retired but has not vacated the championship. Both fighters have lost to Nurmagomedov and want to have a rematch. It is unclear when the lightweight championship will be vacated or if the UFC will try to bring Nurmagomedov out of retirement. A win for either fighter could make them the number one contender for the lightweight championship.