Conor McGregor ‘commits’ to UFC’s lightweight division for 2021 as expected Dustin Poirier rematch nears

Irishman was previously UFC featherweight champion and has fought at welterweight three times during his time with the promotion

Alex Pattle
Monday 02 November 2020 11:02 GMT
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Conor McGregor has laid out his UFC plans for 2021, claiming he intends to commit to the lightweight division.

McGregor last fought in January, knocking out Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds in a welterweight bout, before announcing his retirement for the third time in June.  

But the Irishman is seemingly set to return to the Octagon in January for a rematch with Dustin Poirier at lightweight.

McGregor, 32, knocked out Poirier in the first round when the pair fought at featherweight in 2014, but Poirier is a much-improved mixed martial artist compared to when he last shared a ring with ‘Notorious’, and the American was the UFC’s interim lightweight champion last year before losing to then-undisputed champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

There has been some speculation that a rematch between McGregor and Poirier could be for the newly vacant lightweight title, which was relinquished by Nurmagomedov when he retired last month. The Russian, who defeated McGregor in 2018, submitted interim champion Justin Gaethje in the second round in the main event of UFC 254 on ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi to move to 29-0. Moments later, ‘The Eagle’ announced that the contest had been his last.

That leaves a huge space at the top of the lightweight rankings – a spot that McGregor is eager to fill.

“I will commit to the 155lb division for 2021,” he wrote during a Twitter Q&A when asked if he sees himself returning to welterweight, where he fought Nate Diaz twice in 2016.

“Some great match-ups to be had here, as well as unfinished business. I will show the world once again who I am, and what I’m about. Trust that! 

“170 is in my thoughts also, however. You know me for doubling up,” McGregor wrote, referencing the moment he became the UFC’s first ever simultaneous dual-weight champion in 2016 after finishing Eddie Alvarez to claim the lightweight title 11 months after becoming the featherweight titleholder.

Almost exactly a year ago, McGregor similarly detailed his intentions for a 2020 “season” ahead of his victory against Cerrone, but that three-fight plan never came to fruition.

The Irishman, who has had several run-ins with the law in recent years, also said he is in a good place mentally ahead of his expected return to MMA. “Sometimes we must go to a place in our lives in order for us to get to a better place!” he wrote. “I am in a tremendous space right now and I am excited for competition.

“I will aim to not only improve on the time I beat [Poirier] in previously, but the shot I slept him with also! Poirier is a hell of a fighter, but I’m McGregor.”

Meanwhile, the 32-year-old credited Diaz – whom he said he intends to fight for a third time in the future – with being the toughest opponent he has faced. McGregor also acknowledged lightweight Tony Ferguson as the most under-rated fighter on the UFC roster.

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