UFC Confirms New Potential Opponent Conor McGregor

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If Dustin Poirier has to pull out of the trilogy fight with Conor McGregor, UFC president Dana White has a backup fighter in mind.

Although Poirier vs. McGregor 3 hasn’t been finalized, both of the fighters, as well as White, have confirmed interest in the contest. “The Diamond” and “Notorious” are 1-1, with both holding a TKO victory over the other.

During the UFC 260 post-fight press conference, the promotion’s president was asked if UFC 264, which is set to take place on July 10, will be at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. White was also asked if the trilogy fight between Poirier and McGregor will take place on the card. White replied that he “hopes so.”

He was then asked if No. 2 ranked lightweight Justin Gaethje would compete on the card in the co-main event. “Yeah we could do that,” White said.

The UFC president then pitched another idea: “Or, he would be the backup.”

Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson

GettyJustin Gaethje punches Tony Ferguson in their interim lightweight title fight during UFC 249.

It’s not uncommon for the UFC to have an official backup fighter for a major event. For example, Michael Chandler was the official backup fighter for UFC 254’s Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje. Also, Glover Teixeira was the backup for UFC 259’s Jan Blachowicz vs. Israel Adesanya.

Gaethje sliding in to fight either Poirier or McGregor would be exciting for fans. The Diamond and Gaethje fought once before with Poirier earning the TKO victory in 2018. McGregor and Gaethje have had each other in their crosshairs as well.

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Gaethje Is 4-1 in His Last 5 Bouts, Lost Lightweight Title Fight in October

Gaethje is one of the top 155-pound fighters in MMA, holding wins over the likes of Tony Ferguson, Edson Barboza and Donald Cerrone. He earned the UFC interim lightweight title in May 2020 when he defeated Ferguson via fifth-round TKO.

Riding a four-fight win streak, he challenged then-lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov for the unified strap in October but lost by second-round triangle choke.

Gaethje has earned his nickname “The Highlight” for his electric moments inside the cage, earning 19 of his 22 professional victories by KO/TKO.

UFC 260 Results

On March 27, fans witnessed the heavyweight title change hands. Francis Ngannou knocked out then-champ Stipe Miocic in the main event of UFC 260. See the fight card results below:

Main card

Francis Ngannou def. Stipe Miocic via Second-Round KO

Vicente Luque def. Tyron Woodley via First-Round Submission

Sean O’Malley def. Thomas Almeida via Third-Round KO

Miranda Maverick def. Gillian Robertson via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Jamie Mullarkey def. Khama Worthy via First-Round KO

Preliminary Card

Alonzo Menifield def. Fabio Cherant via First-Round Submission

Abubakar Nurmagomedov def. Jared Gooden via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Michal Oleksiejczuk def. Modestas Bukauskas via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Omar Morales def. Shane Young via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Early Preliminary Card

Marc-Andre Barriault def. Abu Azaitar via Third-Round TKO

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