Conor McGregor has agreed to return to the UFC for a rematch with Dustin Poirier on Jan. 23 at UFC 257.
UFC President Dana White confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday that McGregor has ended his latest retirement from mixed martial arts by signing an agreement for a 155-pound fight with Poirier.
White hasn’t decided whether UFC 257 will be held in Las Vegas or in the UFC’s coronavirus-secure bubble in Abu Dhabi.
“But if the world continues in the direction it looks like it’s headed, it will 100% be Fight Island,” White told the AP.
McGregor (22-4) has fought in the UFC cage just twice since November 2016, but he dramatically stopped Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in 40 seconds at UFC 246 last January. The 32-year-old Irish veteran remains the biggest star in combat sports despite retiring for the third time in four years last June amid frustration with his inability to book the fights he wanted due to the pandemic.
Poirier already signed his agreement for the rematch last week, according to ESPN, the UFC’s broadcast partner.
McGregor was still a rising MMA star when he stopped Poirier just 1:46 into the first round at UFC 178 in September 2014. McGregor won his next three fights, culminating in his 13-second victory over Jose Aldo to claim the UFC lightweight championship.
Poirier (26-6) rebounded from that loss and fought his way to a UFC title, recording wins over Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez before outpointing Max Holloway for the interim UFC lightweight title in April 2019. Poirier lost his share of the belt to Khabib Nurmagomedov by submission in September 2019 in Abu Dhabi, but rebounded with a decision over Dan Hooker last June.
McGregor and Poirier both favor brawling, on-the-feet fighting styles that should provide a good matchup for McGregor’s strengths.
Nurmagomedov, who retired last month after beating Gaethje, is the last fighter to beat both McGregor and Poirier.