New information was revealed about Conor McGregor’s next fight by the UFC’s television partner ESPN and UFC president Dana White. Per ESPN, McGregor’s upcoming rematch against Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier will take place on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
That location, which the UFC calls “Fight Island”, will host a tripleheader of UFC action in January to kick off the new year. Those three events will happen over seven days to begin 2021.
UFC Fight Night events take place on January 16 and January 20, followed by UFC 257 on January 23.
These main events are all happening on Fight Island in the first eight days of UFC's 2021 schedule 🔥 pic.twitter.com/a6WOjISFsf
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) December 22, 2020
The action starts with former featherweight champion Max Holloway taking on rising contender Calvin Kattar on January Jan. 16.
It continues with a welterweight matchup between rising welterweight and middleweight star Khamzat Chimaev and 170-pound contender Leon Edwards on January 20.
Then, McGregor takes on Poirier in an important lightweight battle on January 23 at UFC 257.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) December 20, 2020
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Co-Main Event Revealed: Report
Later on the same day, Stuff reported the co-main event for UFC 257: McGregor vs. Poirier would include the long-awaited promotional debut of ex-Bellator champ Michael Chandler.
According to that same report, Chandler will face Dan Hooker in a battle between two of the top 155-pound fighters in the UFC.
— Stuff.co.nz Sport (@NZStuffSport) December 22, 2020
According to Stuff, “both camps have already agreed to the bout and are now in training, with a formal announcement expected in the coming days”.
The fight has not yet been confirmed by UFC officials, but Chandler vs Hooker would be a massively important fight, one that would essentially turn UFC 257 into a de facto tournament to find the top contender in the lightweight division.
Dana White’s Reveals Contest and Potential Fate of Fans
UFC president Dana White released a video on Tuesday for a contest that fans can win to nab “the only seats in the house” to see McGregor vs. Poirer at UFC 257 on January 23.
You can watch that video below to learn more about how to enter the contest.
So it seems like White isn’t expecting fans to be allowed at UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2. If that’s the case, fans aren’t likely to be allowed at the other two events in January either.
Per ESPN’s Okamoto, the UFC and local Abu Dhabi officials have continued discussions around moving events from Flash Forum to Etihad Arena so that fans can be in attendance. But there is not yet a resolution in place, and it appears from the words White uses in the contest video that he doesn’t expect fans to be there beyond the contest winners.
White previously revealed that not having a live gate for a McGregor fight “definitely sucks” but that he was confident if any location in the world could pull off the tough job of safely hosting fans in attendance for a McGregor fight, it would be Abu Dhabi.
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— danawhite (@danawhite) December 22, 2020