Conor McGregor is nearing his return to the Octagon and needs an opponent. Though the former two-division champion has requested several names at lightweight and welterweight, Dustin Poirier wants to see him against the one name that is sure to deliver the goods: Justin Gaethje.
“Justin Gaethje vs. the return of Conor McGregor,” said Poirier on the DC & RC Show. “The hype, the build-up — somebody’s going to sleep. I mean, you’re tuning in for a car wreck. A head-on collision, and I want to see it.”
McGregor has not fought since suffering a broken leg in his first-round technical knockout loss to Poirier at UFC 264 a year ago. He has spent his time recovering and preparing for his return, which could come either late 2022 or early 2023. UFC president Dana White hinted at McGregor vs. Michael Chandler being scheduled in the future. However, Gaethje could also be an option.
McGregor and Gaethje have had their share of dust-ups on social media over the years, but a fight has not happened yet. The ‘Highlight’ previously expressed interest in fighting the ‘Notorious one so that he could ‘retire’ him from the sport.
“At the end of the day, after I win this fight [against Charles Oliveira] there’s two people that are next in line,” said Gaethje on the FULL SEND PODCAST in May. “There’s Beneil Dariush and [Islam] Makhachev and they need to fight each other. If Conor McGregor’s there, then I think he’s just as rightfully available as those two because they need to fight. So I say either everybody deserves it, or nobody deserves it right now. Someone needs to stand out and yeah, whoever. I want that opportunity to take him away from this sport forever.”
Gaethje went on to lose to Oliveira at UFC 274 this past May. The 33-year-old recently underwent nose surgery and should be good to go again by the ‘end of the year, most likely early next year,’ a timeline that coincides with when McGregor expects to return.
Poirier also shared the other two fights he wants to happen in the lightweight division: Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev and Beneil Dariush vs. Mateusz Gamrot. Oliveira vs. Makhachev is all but confirmed for the vacant lightweight championship, and Dariush vs. Gamrot may be a potential No. 1 contender. Interestingly enough, the former interim UFC lightweight champion did not include himself in his fantasy matchmaking. That said, Poirier hopes to get a fight soon.
The ‘Diamond’ was in action at UFC 269, where he was submitted by Oliveira via third-round rear-naked choke in December.
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