The former two-division UFC champion and biggest superstar the sport has seen in years, Conor McGregor, announced his return after a two-year hiatus. McGregor (21-3) will face lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0) at UFC 229 on Oct. 6 in Las Vegas.
The announcement came at the closing of the UFC’s 25th-anniversary fall news conference held in Los Angeles. The news turned out to be a surprise as UFC president Dana White initially said they were close to making the fight happen, but not done yet. Neither fighter was present at the press conference.
The Irish superstar hasn’t been active in the UFC since 2016 when he defeated Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 making him the first UFC fighter to ever hold two world titles at the same time from different weight classes. Last year, McGregor suffered a TKO loss in the 10th round to Floyd Mayweather. Though he lost, many considered it a success. McGregor reportedly earned $100 million.
The fighters have spoken publically in the past about each other, but the rivalry became intense after UFC 223 in April. After the press conference at the Barclays Center, McGregor caused a scene throwing a dolly through a bus window. The incident caused significant changes to the fight card forcing two fighters not to fight.
McGregor has resolved the incident and avoided any jail time by pleading guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to community service and anger management.
The UFC’s superstar is back and all the lights are on him and Nurmagomedov. A long-anticipated match-up becoming a reality is what the fans wanted, and what the UFC needed. It’s a fight against the undefeated Russian and the fighter who never really lost his belt; it got stripped from him.