12 January 2021

UFC president White excited for return of ‘real McGregor’ at UFC 257 but confirms lightweight belt not on line

UFC president Dana White has revealed he believes 'the real Conor McGregor' will return against Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 later this month.

The Notorious One will step into the octagon for the first time in a year when he takes on Poirier on January 23 in a rematch of their clash six years ago - a fight McGregor won via a first round stoppage.

But while the hotly-anticipated contest promises to provide fireworks, White has confirmed it will not be for the lightweight title as Khabib Nurmagomedov still holds the belt despite his retirement back in October.

Khabib retired after his win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254

(SIPA USA/PA Images)

"If Khabib does retire, then whoever the highest-ranked guy is at the time will end up facing Conor if Conor beats Poirier and would end up fighting for the title, I'm sure," he told ESPN.

McGregor has fought just once since his defeat to Khabib in October 2018, although that performance was a devastating demolition of Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone in just 40 seconds.

And while the Irishman has not been as active as many would have liked, White insists he is back firing on all cylinders.

"This guy is so rich, how hungry is he? There’s nothing more exciting or fun than a motivated Conor McGregor, when his head is in the right place," he added. "And you can tell when he is and when he isn’t, and right now, he’s in.

"My conversations with Conor, I know when the real Conor is here and the other Conor is here, and believe me when I tell you, the real Conor is here.

"If something happened to Dustin Poirier, he is the Conor McGregor right now that doesn’t give a s*** who we put in that fight.

"He’s going to be, ‘Who’s ready? Who you got? I’m going to the gym, tell me who’s showing up on Saturday.’ He’s that guy right now. That Conor McGregor is back."

Poirier will be hoping to avenge his defeat to McGregor six years ago

(SIPA USA/PA Images)

Meanwhile, Poirier's last fight ended in a unanimous decision victory over Dan Hooker in June.

The 31-year-old has only lost once since September 2016, a loss which also came against Khabib in September 2019.

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