- MMA columnist for ESPN.com
- Analyst for “MMA Live”
- Covered MMA for Las Vegas Sun
The UFC has offered Conor McGregor a fight against Dustin Poirier on Jan. 23, 2021 — and according to UFC president Dana White, that’s the date. Take it or leave it.
The promotion formally offered McGregor the Jan. 23 fight against Poirier late last month, shortly after McGregor proposed a charity exhibition match against Poirier in December. Last week, McGregor announced on social media he had “accepted” the UFC’s offer, but said the fight must happen on one of the UFC’s Nov. 21 or Dec. 12 pay-per-views.
UFC 255 on Nov. 21 has two title fights booked, as does UFC 256 on Dec. 12. White said he is not willing to rearrange the schedule to accommodate McGregor’s request.
“We offered him a fight, we got him his own date,” White told ESPN. “We didn’t have a date this year. We have everything laid out for this year, with world champions fighting for titles. He wants to fight Dustin Poirier apparently, so we went to [broadcast partner] ESPN and got him his own date. He’s been offered Dustin Poirier on Jan. 23.
“It’s a yes or no answer.”
White said he does not know why McGregor is adamant he has to fight prior to Jan. 23. “I have no clue,” White said.
UFC 255 features a male flyweight title bout between Deiveison Figueiredo and Alex Perez, and a female flyweight title fight between Valentina Shevchenko and Jennifer Maia. UFC 256 will feature dual-weight champ Amanda Nunes defending her featherweight title against Megan Anderson, and bantamweight champ Petr Yan against Aljamain Sterling.
When asked if there was any chance the UFC could move some of those fights around to meet McGregor’s timeline, White said the company could not.
“That’s not how it works,” White said. “We laid out this year. He was retired. Would anybody disagree he was retired? Through this crazy pandemic year we’re going through, we faced a lot of challenges. There were a lot of things done to make this thing work. We made it happen. We have our schedule laid out. Fighters have committed to it. Fighters have started training for these fights. Conor came back and wants to fight Dustin, so we went out and got him his own date. It’s Jan. 23.”
One twist in all of this is McGregor has expressed interest in boxing Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao, and even confirmed on social media recently he’s interested in facing Poirier because Poirier is a southpaw (like Pacquiao), with good boxing skills.
For his part, White said he has no idea what is going on with a potential boxing match between McGregor and Pacquiao.
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