Conor McGregor heading to Abu Dhabi to fight Dustin Poirier on UFC return

Conor McGregor’s highly anticipated UFC return against Dustin Poirier next month will take place at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.

McGregor announced he was bowing out of the sport in June but he reversed his third retirement in the space of four years as it was announced he would take on lightweight rival Poirier in a rematch at UFC 257 on January 23.

It was expected the UFC would stage the event at its ‘Fight Island’ base, which has staged nine shows this year, primarily to facilitate bouts between competitors affected by travel restrictions into the United States.

And UFC president Dana White confirmed on Instagram that the organisation’s first three events of 2021, starting on January 16, would take place at the emirate’s Flash Forum.

Birmingham welterweight Leon Edwards headlines the second of those cards on January 20, against rising star Khamzat Chimaev, while McGregor will fight for the first time in a year three days later.

McGregor, the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion who has won 22 of his 26 mixed martial arts contests, stopped American veteran Donald Cerrone after just 40 seconds in his last outing in January.

The Irishman defeated Poirier, who has a 26-6 MMA record with one no-contest, via first-round TKO in September 2014 in a featherweight encounter at UFC 178 in Las Vegas.

McGregor’s last nine fights in the UFC have taken place in the US.

Joanne Calderwood is scheduled to fight on the Poirier-McGregor undercard, with the Kilmarnock flyweight set for a meeting against America’s Jessica Eye.