CONOR McGREGOR has agreed to return to MMA to face Dustin Poirier in a December charity exhibition.
The Irishman retired from the UFC in June, but already announced he would return to boxing to fight Manny Pacquiao in the Middle East.
He followed it up by publicly challenging Poirier – who he beat in 2014 – to an exhibition in Ireland, without the UFC's involvement.
The proposal, of an openweight bout with no weigh ins, was accepted and McGregor revealed negotiations will now take place behind the scenes.
Here SunSport details how the former opponents match up with 38 UFC wins between them.
McGregor burst onto the scene in 2013, and within five fights and two years he challenged for UFC gold.
He won the interim featherweight strap against Chad Mendes before dethroning undisputed champ Jose Aldo.
A double header against Nate Diaz followed in 2016 before he beat Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight belt – becoming the first to hold two titles at the same time.
McGregor would then put his UFC career on hold in 2017 to make his lucrative boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather, which he lost in ten rounds.
The Irishman returned in 2018 against bitter rival Khabib Nurmagomedov, tapping out in round four, but bounced back this January beating Donald Cerrone.
He hung the gloves up in June after being overlooked in the lightweight title picture, but appears ready to fight again.
With 19 KO's in his 22 wins, McGregor has one of the most lethal left hands in the sport.
Combine that with his excellent counter punching, controlling of range and supreme confidence, the southpaw star is one of the most technically gifted fighters in history.
But his loss of momentum since a career-high payday against Mayweather has cost McGregor valuable years, fighting just twice in the three years since that bout.
He had planned to fight FOUR times as part of his '2020 season' but was left frustrated as the coronavirus pandemic halted all plans.
After being KO'd against McGregor inside two minutes at featherweight in 2014, Poirier was left with a modest 16-4 record.
But after moving up in weight his boxing and power vastly developed as he soon became one of the most improved UFC fighters.
Poirier would lose just once in 11 fights, despite a no contest against Eddie Alvarez, before he faced Max Holloway for the interim lightweight belt.
He went in as a huge underdog, despite beating Holloway seven years prior.
Poirier proved too strong for the then-featherweight champion, hurting him on several occasions.
The win would earn him a shot at unbeaten Khabib Nurmagomedov, which almost ended in a shock upset after Poirier locked in a choke.
Nurmagomedov would survive and eventually submit Poirier himself, who beat Dan Hooker in his return fight.
The American has some of the best hands in the sport and with good takedown defence, he is proving a force in the division.
Poirier has been involved in ten Fight of The Night, Performance of The Night or Submission of The Night, matches.
It has made him a fan favourite thanks to his exciting fight style.
In their first fight, McGregor was able to walk Poirier down, landing a left hand that closed the show.
Despite his inactivity, compared to Poirier's, the former two-weight champion still owns the advantages going into the bout.
Having last fought at welterweight, he has size on his side and arguably is more powerful with better striking.
Even with Poirier's come forward, aggressive style, it plays into McGregor's hands with the southpaw one of the most clinical counter punchers.
But for Poirier to win, he does need to get in The Notorious' face and set a high tempo like Diaz did at UFC 196 in 2016 where he won by submission.
For McGregor, staying on the outside and picking his man apart seems like the most likely case, like he did against Alvarez at UFC 205 four years ago.
And when the opportunity arises to punch in combinations, that is his chance close the show.
This is the perfect fight for McGregor to try and revive his MMA career, with Poirier three places above him in the UFC lightweight rankings.
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