Conor McGregor is back!
After a two-year hiatus from the sport, the former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion will return to the Octagon to face current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The announcement was made during the UFC’s 25th anniversary press conference where the fighting promotion laid out the events for the rest of 2018. After naming major fights for the upcoming months, UFC 229 was curiously omitted, which led to speculation that a McGregor-Nurmagomedov fight would be announced. UFC president Dana White downplayed the idea when asked during the conference. But once the event wrapped, White presented a video package that announced the return of the UFC’s biggest star.
THE FIGHT IS ON!@TeamKhabib vs @TheNotoriousMMA Oct. 6 in Las Vegas at #UFC229! pic.twitter.com/GHNzmj4eWY
— #UFC227 (@ufc) August 3, 2018
The last time McGregor was in the Octagon, he scored a 2nd round knockout over lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez to become the first fighter to hold two world titles simultaneously. However, instead of defending either the featherweight or lightweight title, McGregor opted for a boxing match with undefeated pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather. McGregor would lose the fight by 10th round TKO, but earned just shy of $100 million.
Since then, McGregor’s return to the UFC has been teased but the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement. In the interim, Khabib Nurmagomedov has taken the lightweight division by storm. The undefeated Russian won the vacant UFC lightweight title against Al Iaquinta at UFC 223 after then-lightweight champion Tony Ferguson pulled out of a scheduled bout with Nurmagomedov due to an injury suffered days before the event.
McGregor and Nurmagomedov have a checkered history that culminated at UFC 223 media day in New York when the Irishman infamously attacked a bus carrying Nurmagomedov. McGregor and his entourage stormed the Barclays Center loading dock and the Irishman threw a dolly through the bus window in search of Nurmagomedov. The incident stemmed from a run in between Nurmagomedov and McGregor training partner Artem Lobov earlier in the week. The attack forced both Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg off of UFC 223 due to injuries from shattered glass. McGregor was arrested for his role in the attack. The former champion reached a plea deal with a New York court earlier this month to avoid jail time and deportation, which cleared the way for the former champion to compete in the Octagon.
The fight will likely break PPV records for the UFC and will mark McGregor’s toughest test to date as Nurmagomedov (26-0, 9-0 UFC) has remained undefeated over the course of his 10-year mixed martial arts career. The vitriol between the two parties will certainly lead to a contentious build toward the fight as Mystic Mac attempts to regain the lightweight title he never lost in a fight. As for Nurmagomedov, he’ll look to cement himself as the best lightweight in the UFC with a victory over McGregor.