UFC 303: Conor McGregor to finally return vs. Michael Chandler in June

UFC 303: Conor McGregor to finally return vs. Michael Chandler in June

Conor McGregor will make his return to the Octagon at UFC 303 in June to face Michael Chandler at welterweight. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Conor McGregor's return to the UFC finally has a date.

The former featherweight and lightweight champion will face Michael Chandler at UFC 303 on June 29, UFC president Dana White announced after UFC 300 on Saturday. It will be the first time McGregor has fought in the Octagon since June 2021, when he lost a second straight fight to Dustin Poirier.

The matchup will be fought at welterweight (170 pounds).

Chandler seemed happy with the news.

Despite his considerable layoff, McGregor could still be considered the biggest draw in MMA. His last fight against Poirier left him with a broken tibia and a third loss in four fights. Recovery was slow and the timetable for his return was nebulous.

He became set for a return when he coached "The Ultimate Fighter 31" alongside Chandler in 2023, but months passed without a real fight date. He was slow to enter the required USADA testing pool, which the UFC eventually abandoned in contentious fashion.

In the meantime, McGregor worked on extracurricular activities, like starring in "Road House" alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and promoting his whiskey, among other things.

McGregor said he would fight in June as early as December, it just took a while for the UFC to feel comfortable nailing that down.

Islam Makhachev to defend UFC lightweight belt against Dustin Poirier

On a related note, White also announced Poirier would challenge UFC lightweight champ Islam Makhachev at UFC 302 on June 1 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Poirier has come up short in two previous lightweight challenges, getting submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2019 and by Charles Oliveira in 2021. The UFC fan favorite also lost to Justin Gaethje in July 2023, but bounced back with an upset win over Benoît Saint Denis last month.

His reward will be the current UFC pound-for-pound king, who defeated Oliveira for the lightweight belt in 2022 and has since notched two title defenses, both against former featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski. The second fight after Oliveira dropped out with an injury.

White added the co-main event of UFC 302 will be a five-round battle between former middleweight champ Sean Strickland and Paulo Costa.

Saturday was an enormous night for the UFC, with Max Holloway delivering one of the wildest knockouts in MMA history and Alex Pereira ending the main card with an impressive first-round KO of Jamahal Hill. White was clearly happy to announce there were even more big fights on the way.


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