Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 26 November 2020

UFC

'See you soon': Conor McGregor hints at being UAE-bound for Dustin Poirier rematch on Fight Island

Former two-weight champion will face the American in January, with Dana White expecting the bout to be held in Abu Dhabi

UFC star Conor McGregor has hinted that his comeback fight against Dustin Poirier will be held in the UAE, if his recent social media activity is anything to go by.

McGregor, who last fought in January when he stopped Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds, will face Poirier in a rematch on January 23 having initially announced his retirement in July.

While the venue and location are yet to be confirmed, UFC president Dana White has previously said that the lightweight clash will be held on Fight Island "if everything goes to plan". There have been two Fight Island series so far, both in Abu Dhabi.

And McGregor has suggested that he is poised to take on Poirier in the UAE after the Irish former two-weight champion took to Twitter to retweet, and comment on, videos of UAE footballer Ali Saleh using his famous strut for a goal celebration.

After a video of Saleh's celebration was brought to his attention, McGregor commented: "See you soon". He then proceeded to retweet a series of posts from the Arabian Gulf League – the UAE's top-tier football league.

McGregor, who has won 22 of his 26 professional MMA fights and holds a 10-2 record in the UFC, fought Poirier in September 2014 at UFC 178 where he stopped the American with a first round TKO.

Poirier, meanwhile, is no stranger to the UAE having fought Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi. He was stopped by the lightweight champion via submission in the third round.

The proposed showdown on Fight Island will be the latest high-profile bout to take place as part of a series created in response to the coronavirus pandemic which allowed the UFC's international athletes a location to host fights.

The first Fight Island, in July, was headlined by UFC 251 and the welterweight title bout between champion Kamaru Usman and late call-up Jorge Masvidal, who stepped in last minute after Gilbert Burns tested positive for Covid-19.

Fight Island 2, held across September and October, began with Israel Adesanya's defence of his middleweight title against Paulo Costa at UFC 253 and concluded with UFC 254, where Nurmagomedov retained his lightweight belt with a submission win over Justin Gaethje on October 24. Nurmagomedov, whose father passed away this year, immediately and emotionally announced his retirement from inside the octagon.

Both Fight Island series so far have been held behind closed doors and within a bio-secure bubble on Yas Island. White has expressed his hope that spectators will be able to return in some capacity if and when the UFC returns to Abu Dhabi.

As it stands, there is yet to be any official confirmation from the UFC or local organisers regarding a third Fight Island series in Abu Dhabi.

Conor McGregor, left, beat Dustin Poirier in their first fight in September 2014. AP 
Conor McGregor, left, beat Dustin Poirier in their first fight in September 2014. AP 

Updated: November 21, 2020 03:09 PM

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