Conor McGregor is back and the MMA superstar headlines UFC 257 with a clash against old rival Dustin Poirier next weekend.
McGregor, who beat Poirier at UFC 178 in September 2014, is set to return to the octagon for the first time in 12 months, despite retiring for the third time last year.
Conor McGregor is set to face Dustin Poirier on January 23AFP or licensors
‘The Notorious’ beat Donald Cerrone last January in just 40 seconds in his comeback bout following his dramatic defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018.
The 32-year-old has hinted at boxing fights against Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather but MMA fans will get to see him do what he does best again soon.
Poirier also lost to Khabib, in 2019, but has claimed a number of fine wins since his defeat to McGregor and is a much-improved fighter now.
The two are ready to meet again and here’s everything we know about the eagerly-anticipated clash…
McGregor v Poirier: Date and start time
This fight is set to headline UFC 257 on Saturday, January 23 and will take place at the Etihad Arena on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
For UK fight fans, the main event will take place in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The action is set to get underway at 11pm on Saturday night before McGregor v Poirier take to the ring at around 5am.
McGregor v Poirier: TV and live stream
This event will be broadcast on BT Sport in the UK – full details of the TV coverage will follow.
The early prelims will be shown on UFC’s Fight Pass for subscribers as normal.
In the US, all bouts will be simulcast on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ in English and Spanish.
Conor McGregor’s first fight with Dustin Poirier put Irishman ‘on the road to becoming a billionaire’ thanks to lucrative UFC deal from Lorenzo Fertitta
McGregor v Poirier: What has been said?
McGregor has vowed to put on a show when he finally gets back inside the Octagon, tweeting in early January: “I promise a masterpiece,” he said, while adding he will make light work of his lightweight opponent, predicting it will be over in 60 seconds.
And McGregor is looking better now than he did before facing Floyd Mayweather, Khabib Nurmagomedov or Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, according to his manager.
Audie Attar said: “This is the best Conor I’ve seen ever, and I’ve been with him almost a decade now.
“It’s the mental fortitude, the emotional intelligence, the self-awareness, the time he’s spending with his kids in between sessions and what that does to him.
“It’s the reflection of everything that’s happened to us to date – the good, the bad and the ugly – having a level of wherewithal and foresight to understand what we need to do going forward to achieve the goals we have now.
“I’ve never seen Conor like this.”
Despite that, UFC favourite Chael Sonnen believes Poirier CAN avenge his 2014 defeat to McGregor.
He said: “If you go back and look at it, the pure boxing of that night versus today, Dustin today would get rid of that Dustin faster than Conor did. So I think it is a very different match.
“Conor does have a speed advantage on opponents, so it might be good for Dustin to mix it up a little bit, particularly early, and get his hands on him… not just trade with him.
“But even if we are left with the trade-in, I will at least maintain for you that Dustin is much better today than he was then.”
Conor McGregor first fought Dustin Poirier at UFC 178 in 2014Getty Images – Getty
McGregor v Poirier: What is the purse?
Former two-weight champion McGregor is the highest-paid fighter in UFC history.
He banked more than £23million for his first-round knockout win over Donald Cerrone in January.
And he’s expected to take home the lion’s share of the purse against Poirier.
The purse for the upcoming bout is not yet known but Mac has vowed to donate a chunk of it to charity.
McGregor v Poirier: Fight card
Subject to change
MAIN EVENT: Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor, Lightweight
Dan Hooker vs. Michael Chandler, Lightweight
Jessica Eye vs. Joanne Calderwood, Women’s Flyweight
Khalil Rountree Jr. vs. Marcin Prachnio, Light Heavyweight
Marina Rodriguez vs. Amanda Ribas, Women’s Strawweight
Brad Tavares vs. Antonio Carlos Junior, Middleweight
Matt Frevola vs. Ottman Azaitar, Lightweight
Shane Burgos vs. Hakeem Dawodu, Featherweight
Andrew Sanchez vs. Andre Muniz, Middleweight
McGregor v Poirier: Will fans be able to attend?
UFC 257 will have a ‘limited number of spectators’ in the Fight Island safe zone, it has been confirmed.
There will be three Fight Island events coming up culminating in UFC 257 and McGregor v Poirier.
All three shows will now have fans present after the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism confirmed they would be allowed in.
It will be the first time since March that a UFC event will have a live crowd.
A statement on the official Twitter page declared: “The triple header will see three mega-fights, utilizing Abu Dhabi’s proven ‘safe zone’ concept to protect the health and safety of all delegates, spectators, crew and media.”
The Etihad Arena has a maximum capacity of more than 18,000, although no further information was provided as to how limited attendance would be.
Tickets are on sale now with prices ranging from £105 up to over £1,100.
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