Conor McGregor is back, as expected, against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 later this year in Las Vegas.
It’s a done deal. After weeks if not months of speculation, Conor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov is official for UFC 229. The promotion announced the news Friday in a press conference ahead of UFC 227 in Los Angeles, part of the UFC’s ongoing 25th Anniversary festivities.
The bout will mark the biggest fight the UFC has been able to put together since McGregor went on hiatus from MMA following his November 2016 win over Eddie Alvarez. The Irish superstar claimed the lightweight title that night at UFC 205 in New York. He has not fought in MMA since. Instead, he made a foray into boxing, facing Floyd Mayweather in ‘The Money Fight,’ a losing effort that nonetheless earned him somewhere north of $100 million dollars, reportedly. He also took time off to prepare for the birth of his son.
McGregor (21–3) refused to leave the spotlight while in absentia, however. From Burger King commercials to bus attacks, McGregor made his presence felt. Now that his legal troubles from the latter incident have been cleared up, he’s got the green light to return to the cage.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0), meanwhile, has been the biggest benefactor of McGregor’s time away. ‘The Eagle’ has slowly emerged as a bonafide star thanks to his no-nonsense approach to fighting. Plus an unbeaten record that has rarely seen the Russian fighter even pressured. Nurmagomedov captured the lightweight title (stripped from McGregor) in April at UFC 223, after defeated Al Iaquinta following Tony Ferguson pulling out of the fight, and Max Holloway having his weight cut shut down (Holloway had tried to step up on short notice).
The current 155lb champ told Cageside Press last weekend in Calgary that he was “happy” McGregor had got off light from the bus attack and received no additional punishment from the UFC. Because it would mean he could get his hands on his bitter rival.
Nurmagomedov will now get that chance, in the main event of UFC 229 in Las Vegas. The card takes place October 6 at the T-Mobile Arena.