According to multiple sources speaking to MMA Fighting, both McGregor and Poirier have come to terms on a deal to book the lightweight fight for the upcoming UFC 257 card on Jan. 23.
While the fight has been in the works for several weeks, negotiations were still ongoing to strike a deal with the athletes. Late Monday night, it appears all sides have agreed.
However, according to sources, McGregor would still prefer returning earlier, and it appears he’s pushing for the Dec. 12 date now that Nunes vs Anderson has been scrapped for the main event at UFC 256.
On Tuesday afternoon, UFC President Dana White disputed the bout’s status to ESPN, saying McGregor had been sent a bout agreement but hadn’t signed it. White said the fight could take place “Jan. 23 on Fight Island, if everything goes according to plans.”
“There are a ton of if’s right now,” he added. “I have to see where the world is at in the next couple of months.”
McGregor appeared to confirm the bout on Tuesday evening, writing on Instagram “I am very grateful to be about to return and get to do what I love again. I look forward to the fresh test Dustin will bring since our first bout, while also showcasing my own incredibly deep cache of weaponry. ... See you guys soon.”
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The first time I came face to face with Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier. Las Vegas Nevada, August 2014. I was only beginning to blow up and this was a big one! I rocked renowned Dublin Tailor Louis Copeland on the day. Midnight blue pinstripe. I paired the outfit with me grandas burgundy shoes, which I done an amazing job polishing on my Aer Lingus flight over. Zoom in, have a whiff. This same day I also signed a new contract with the UFC, under Lorenzo Fertitta. Lorenzo brought me into his office, myself and my manager Audie Attar, and placed a contract down in front of me with numbers I’d never seen before in my life! I looked over at Audie like, “you won’t be needed on this one mate” We both knew but play it cool we are still in the office hahaha! Wild! The first of our dealings together on some of the largest purse contracts in the history of combat fighting. Incredible! The moment was captured on one of the episodes of my 6 part series, which I had done for RTE. A real turning point in my career, both financially and professionally. The episode was titled “The Suite Life” as I was rocking around the Red Rock casino in absolute shock and awe. Trying to grasp what the fuck was actually going on Hahahaha! What a wild ride this has been. I am very grateful to be about to return and get to do what I love again. I look forward to the fresh test Dustin will bring since our first bout, while also showcasing my own incredibly deep cache of weaponry. Whatever tool is needed on the night will be pulled from the duffel. I am also really excited about aiding Dustins charity “The Good Fight Foundation”, which through the donation, will build a gym/premise for disadvantaged youth in his childhood hometown. I truly love this, and pledge to match the donation on a premise in my own childhood hometown! Both spots with an ode to the upcoming bout. Excellent stuff! See you guys soon.
After announcing his retirement earlier this year, McGregor began hinting at a comeback while expressing his frustration that the UFC hadn’t kept him as busy as he wanted after a quick first-round TKO against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in January.
That eventually led to McGregor calling for a charity “sparring” match against Poirier in Ireland, which then got the UFC involved with an idea to actually book the fight for real.
Both fighters were immediately on board but negotiations continued until this week with McGregor and Poirier coming to terms with the UFC.
For Poirier this will not only serve as an opportunity to potentially earn another shot at UFC gold, but it will give him a chance to avenge a prior loss to McGregor from 2014. On that night, while both fighters were competing at featherweight, McGregor finished Poirier at just 1:46 into the first round.
More than six years later, Poirier seeks to even up the series with McGregor after building himself into one of the top lightweights in the sport. Poirier has gone 5-1 in his past six fights including wins over Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez, Max Holloway and Dan Hooker.
The fight between McGregor and Poirier will headline the UFC pay-per-view card in January with more bouts expected to be added in the coming weeks.
This story has been updated at 5:58 p.m. ET to reflect additional comments from White to ESPN and McGregor’s post.