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Conor McGregor set for spectacular UFC return in early 2021

Written by Contributor, on 17th Nov 2020. Posted in General

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“The Notorious” Conor McGregor has a potentially spectacular return all set up for UFC 257 on January 23, 2021. McGregor is being offered a rematch with Dustin Poirier in a possible lightweight title fight that could make him a three-time UFC champion.

Indeed, betting odds are open from Vegas with McGregor listed as a significant favourite at around 4/9. McGregor already fought and knocked out Poirier in 2014. While both fighters have grown since, McGregor could repeat history.

Despite some hiccups in making this rematch happen, including both McGregor and Poirier playing some hardball with Dana White and the UFC, both fighters are on the verge of the deal.

There is also an outside chance this fight is moved earlier. UFC 256 in December this year lost its main event when two-division champion Amanda Nunes pulled out.

Reports indicate McGregor’s camp have inquired about setting the rematch as UFC 256’s new headliner although there is nothing official here.

Either way, McGregor’s potential return is perfectly timed as Khabib Nurmagomedov abruptly retired leaving the division without a champion.

The best case scenario here is for the UFC to make this bout crown the next champion, McGregor knocks Poirier out, and becomes both the new champion and the UFC’s biggest superstar. Again.

What to expect for McGregor’s impending UFC return

McGregor last fought for the UFC early in 2020 and needed just over a minute to finish Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. This pay-per-view event drew over $11 million at the gate and over one-million buys making it the second-biggest MMA event this year.

Whenever McGregor fights, it will always be a big deal.

A box office blockbuster for the UFC

The last time a McGregor-headlined event didn’t sell over a million PPV buys was way back in 2015 when Jose Aldo fell out of the main event for UFC 189. Since then, McGregor’s PPV’s have averaged 1.9 million buys (counting his boxing bout against Mayweather).

Expect UFC 257 to sell at least a million PPV buys and maybe around 1.5 or 1.6 given that Poirier himself has grown his star power as well. His bout against Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 reportedly sold over a million PPV’s according to Nurmagomedov’s camp.

There is also some bad blood between McGregor and Poirier and something the boisterous Irishman can stoke to generate even more hype for the event.

An action-packed fight that will likely end in a knockout

Both McGregor and Poirier have never been in a boring UFC fight. Not once. Both men are action fighters and love to throw down regardless of who they’re fighting. Despite their respect for each other, they will stand in the middle and sling heavy leather.

McGregor and Poirier have combined for 31 knockouts with McGregor having a 91% finishing rate in his victories while Poirier has 73%. Either way this fight goes, viewers will not be disappointed.

As a matter of fact, when betting odds open, you can expect the prop bet, “Fight does not go to decision” to be heavily favoured.

McGregor getting into boxing and other “superfights”

Win or lose, expect McGregor to not do what traditional UFC fighters do. The enterprising pugilist has already hinted at boxing Manny Pacquiao and has even taken shots at WWE wrestlers.

McGregor cares about blowing up his personal brand as much as he loves fighting. The only question is to what extent does he reach for. A highlight reel knockout will only revitalize his ego and having a title would give him more negotiating power.

While Dana hasn’t given in to McGregor’s wishes as much as he used to, if McGregor has an irresistible idea - such as a “superfight” against another champion or a rematch with Nurmagomedov - expect him to cave.

McGregor’s potential future in combat sports

It all depends whether McGregor wins or loses as it will determine how much stock he’ll have. Although he got strangled by Nurmagomedov, he still drew millions to his fight against Cerrone.

But assuming McGregor has his way, here’s a list of potential bouts lined up for McGregor (all with their own betting odds):

• McGregor vs Diaz III

• McGregor vs Usman

• McGregor vs Silva

• McGregor vs Nurmagomedov II

• McGregor vs Masvidal

• McGregor vs Gaethje

• McGregor vs Mayweather II (in MMA)

• McGregor vs Pacquiao (in boxing)

• McGregor fights at either lightweight or welterweight or in the case of the Silva fight, middleweight.

There is a slim chance most of these fights pan out but in following McGregor’s optimism, don’t ever bet against how big and how crazy he can get.

Picture "José Aldo vs. Conor McGregor, UFC 189 World Tour London" by Andrius Petrucenia on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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