By the time Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor finally agreed to run it back, UFC already had the remainder of its 2020 schedule mapped out, which means there was little-to-no room atop the final two pay-per-view (PPV) cards of the year.
UFC 255 on Nov. 21 and UFC 256 on Dec. 12.
That’s why the promotion was looking to kick off 2021 with “McGregor vs. Poirier 2” because you don’t put stars of their caliber (or a fight of that magnitude) on a weekly “Fight Night” card where any schmuck with an ESPN+ password can tune in.
“Right now they have a list of events that are already booked with headliners and I think the UFC is angling for this to be somewhere in January and Conor’s wanting to fight this year, as do I,” Poirier told Teddy Atlas. “I want to fight in 2020, I want one more fight this year. I think it’s those kinds of things slowing things down from getting the fight done, but the negotiations are alive.”
I’m sure fans will want to know what headliner is worth keeping at the expense of a McGregor-Poirier rematch and I’m not sure I have a satisfactory answer. I will say that a live gate — upward of $18 million when “Notorious” is in town — is no longer part of the equation.
It’s unknown if McGregor would still be interested in keeping his “Diamond” date if the promotion is unable to get something done for 2020. The part-time pugilist also claims to be boxing Manny Pacquiao at some point next year, so only time will tell.