Conor McGregor agrees to UFC return vs Poirier on Jan. 23

Conor McGregor has agreed to return to the UFC for a rematch with Dustin Poirier on January 23 at UFC 257.

UFC President Dana White confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday that McGregor has ended his last retirement from mixed martial arts by signing an agreement for a 155-pound fight with Poirier.

White has not yet decided whether UFC 257 will be held in Las Vegas or in the UFC’s coronavirus-protected bubble in Abu Dhabi.

“But if the world continues in the direction it appears to be going, it will be 100% Fight Island,” White told the AP.

McGregor (22-4) has only fought twice in the UFC cage since November 2016, but he dramatically held back Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in 40 seconds in 40 seconds at UFC 246 last January. The 32-year-old Irish veteran remains the biggest star in martial arts, despite retiring for the third time in four years last June amid frustration at his inability to book the fights he wanted due to the pandemic.

Poirier already signed his deal for the rematch last week, according to ESPN, the UFC’s broadcasting partner.

McGregor was still a rising MMA star when he stopped Poirier by just 1:46 in the first round at UFC 178 in September 2014. McGregor won his next three fights, culminating in his 13-second win over Jose Aldo at the UFC lightweight championship.

Poirier (26-6) recovered from that loss and fought his way to a UFC title with victories over Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez before knocking out Max Holloway for the interim UFC lightweight title in April 2019. Poirier lost his share of the belt to Khabib Nurmagomedov by filing in September 2019 in Abu Dhabi, but rebounded last June with a decision over Dan Hooker.

McGregor and Poirier both advocate on-foot fighting styles that should be a good match for McGregor’s strengths.

Nurmagomedov, who retired last month after beating Gaethje, is the last fighter to defeat both McGregor and Poirier.