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.”
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.