UFC lightweight title fight confirmed, and could tee up spectacular Conor McGregor return
'The Notorious' is not expected back until later in the summer.
Although he was saying he could return as soon as April, Conor McGregor is not likely to step into The Octagon until much later in the year.
Whenever he does return, he could still have a title fight. With Colby Covington trying to set up a catch-weight bout against Dustin Poirier, who beat McGregor twice in 2021, there could be a path to an immediate title match return.
Although it had been mooted for a while, it was confirmed during UFC 272, on Saturday, that Charles Oliveira was going to defend his lightweight title against Justin Gaethje. That fight will happen at UFC 274 on May 7 in Phoenix, Arizona.
'Do Bronx' beat Michael Chandler to win the 155lbs belt that was vacated by Khabib Nurmagomedov, in May 2021, then defended that title by defeating Poirier in December.
Gaethje is a former interim lightweight champion but lost out to Nurmagomedov in 2020, on Yas Island. Gaethje beat Chandler in November 2021 and is the No.1 contender for a crack at the Brazilian.
The UFC 274 title fight confirmation puts to bed the notion that McGregor could make an immediate return and take on Oliveira. It was a notion that McGregor himself was happy to fame the flames on, last weekend, when he told media at a Bellator event in Dublin that he could return as soon as April.
While McGregor vs. Oliveira clash would, of course, garner a lot of attention, the Dubliner facing 'The Highlight' would be spectacular. Back in May 2020, with the interim strap over his shoulder, Gaethje sought to tee up a McGregor fight by declaring:
"I'll go to Ireland; do what I gotta do."
Of course, there is the small matter of 22-1 Islam Makhachev, who is on a 10-fight winning streak. The Dagestani is demanding a title fight in his next outing, although he did say he would be willing to take an "easy fight"
— UFC (@ufc) March 6, 2022
Colby Covington calls out Dustin Poirier
As for UFC 272, Colby Covington, he was a unanimous decision winner over his old American Top Team stable-mate Jorge Masvidal.
Following the fight, Covington laid some foul-mouthed tape in cutting a promo for a fight against Dustin Poirier. Taking the microphone from Joe Rogan, Covington proclaimed:
"I just took care of Miami street trash, now it’s time to take care of Louisiana swamp trash. Where you at Dustin Poirier, you c***. You said it’s on sight. Name the site, Dustin. Bring that jezebel of a wife and bring that little kid and I’ll see you soon. You’re next."
Elsewhere on the night, there were victories for Rafael Dos Anjos and Bryce Mitchell. In fact, should McGregor want a comeback fight, he could do worse than finally facing off against Dos Anjos and settling a beef that dates back to 2016.