Dana White Says McGregor vs. Poirier Won’t Be Title Fight

Photo via: @thenotoriousmma/Instagram

The upcoming bout between Conor McGregor (22-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6) won’t be for a title, according to UFC chief Dana White. The fight hasn’t been officially announced but is likely to headline UFC 257 on January 23.

The contest was first announced by MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin, with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani subsequently noting that, while Poirier had already signed a fight agreement, McGregor was yet to although a bout agreement was sent to him following a public, verbal acquiescing.

“There are a ton of if’s right now,” White said on the possibility. “I have to see where the world is at in the next couple of months.”

The fight is now close to being finalized and White has indicated his intention to have it happen in Abu Dhabi. However, whether it will be a one-time stop or multi-week run on Fight Island is yet to be determined. Per MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck, White has disclosed that, if the fight does take place, it would be a rematch with no title up for grabs.

“No, [it won’t be for the title],” the UFC president was quoted as saying. “Khabib’s gonna fight (again). I believe he’s gonna fight. It’s not for the title.”

As with any affair involving Conor, this is an epic fight and the Intertops predictions should catch your attention. Albeit not being set in stone just yet, a number of bookmakers are offering odds on the bout. McGregor is 4/9 to win with William Hill; the sportsbook has Poirier at 7/4 for the win. The Irishman has snagged the majority of the bets, for the time being, having accounted for 79 percent of odds being placed on the fight.

Photo via: @dustinpoirier/Instagram

UFC had a bit of a struggle getting Dustin to agree to a fight, according to sources cited by ESPN. It’s understood that there were internal discussions to have someone else fight McGregor as there was significant doubt over Poirier agreeing. Ultimately, though, he signed on the dotted line and it’s now left to Conor to officially agree to go head-to-head with the 31-year-old Los Angeles native.

The fight would mark McGregor’s return to the octagon after a little over a year. The former featherweight and lightweight champion defeated Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds on January 18 this year and was supposed to have participated in a few other bouts but the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as personal issues with UFC, saw to a mostly uneventful 2020. McGregor announced his retirement on social media out of frustration earlier this year but is now poised to return to fight a competitor he was victorious over at UFC 178 in 2014.

Photo via: @thenotoriousmma/Instagram

Conor looks to be in incredible shape ahead of the fight and has been keeping fans updated on his training via social media. He showed off the results of a recent cupping therapy in photos. Said procedure involves special suction cups being placed in various locations on the body and then being left for a few minutes. Cupping, also known to be used by boxer Anthony Joshua, has a number of benefits, including pain and inflammation relief, increased blood flow, detoxing, and relaxation.

The 32-year-old is preparing for the fight in Portugal, where he’s said to be renting a £10,000-a-week villa in the Algarve for himself, his fiancee, and his two children. Conor has since been joined by head coach John Kavanagh and striking coach Owen Roddy.

Unfortunately, his long-awaited return to the octagon won’t be for a title fight as White expects Khabib Nurmagomedov to also make a retirement u-turn. 

Khabib, who famously defeated McGregor at UFC 229 in 2018, announced his retirement after beating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 but has revealed, via Instagram, that he was tested by USADA for the 47th time. The revelation has sparked questions over whether or not the Russian star plans to stay retired.

White claimed to be in the dark where Nurmagomedov’s plans are concerned, adding he isn’t putting only pressure on the undefeated 32-year-old (29-0) but is positive he will be fighting again soon.

Photo via: @khabib_nurmagomedov/Instagram

“I didn’t know that happened,” he told reporters. “I told you guys that I think he’s gonna go to [30-0]. If he’s still testing, why the hell would you want to test if you’re not gonna fight?

“He hasn’t committed, but I feel like he’s gonna. I’m not really pushing him. We talked about it and he just fought. Let him take some time, spend some time with his family, spend the holidays. There’s no rush.”

Meanwhile, Poirier indicated he would be leaving for training camp in Florida this week, leaving little doubt the bout between himself and McGregor will indeed take place. The American is coming off a win over Dan Hooker via a unanimous decision that took place in June and will hope to even his record against McGregor come next year.

Severe MMA Staff

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