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Conor McGregor will bid for UFC history against Eddie Alvarez in New York on 12 November

The Dubliner will challenge the UFC’s lightweight champion.

UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor pictured prior to his victory over Nate Diaz last month.
UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor pictured prior to his victory over Nate Diaz last month.
Image: Tom Hogan/INPHO

CONOR McGREGOR WILL return to the octagon before the end of 2016 in a bout which will offer him the opportunity to clinch a second UFC title.

McGregor (20-3), the UFC’s reigning featherweight champion, will challenge defending lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez (28-4) in the headline bout at UFC 205.

The event, which will take place at Madison Square Garden, is set for Saturday, 12 November, and it will be the UFC’s first ever show in New York City after the ban on professional mixed martial arts in the state of New York was abolished earlier this year.

The fight was officially announced by UFC president Dana White on ESPN’s SportsCenter in the early hours of this morning. White said last week that McGregor was unlikely to be available for the New York card due to an injury, but that claim was refuted by McGregor’s camp.

“This is the fight the fans wanted and I’m excited that our very first event at Madison Square Garden will be headlined by Eddie Alvarez defending the lightweight title against Conor McGregor,” White told ESPN. “This card has three world title fights and is the best card in UFC history.”

Significantly, White also confirmed that McGregor will be allowed to keep his featherweight belt in the meantime, despite previously insisting that the Dubliner would have to relinquish that title if he wished to fight outside the division again.

McGregor knocked out Jose Aldo last December to become the champion in the 145lbs division. This will be his third fight since that victory but none of those bouts have taken place at featherweight, which has frustrated the contenders in the division.

Aldo defeated Frankie Edgar in July at UFC 200 in a bout for an interim featherweight title, and he was expecting to be rewarded with a shot at revenge against McGregor before the end of the year. However, the Brazilian’s chance for redemption will have to wait — again.

After reaching the top of the featherweight division at the end of 2015, McGregor began 2016 with plans to move up and conquer the lightweight division. The Straight Blast Gym fighter was booked for a clash with Rafael Dos Anjos, who was the champion in the 155lbs division at the time, at UFC 196 back in March.

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However, Dos Anjos was forced to pull out due to an injury on less than a fortnight’s notice. Nate Diaz stepped in as a replacement and defeated McGregor via second-round submission in a welterweight bout in Las Vegas.

McGregor returned to Vegas last month and exacted revenge over Diaz with a majority-decision win in the main event at UFC 202. Again, the fight was contested at 170lbs.

UFC Fight Night 81 UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. Source: AP/Press Association Images

In the meantime, Dos Anjos lost his lightweight title to Eddie Alvarez via first-round TKO. Alvarez, a 32-year-old native of Philadelphia, moved to the UFC in 2014 having previously been a champion with rival organisation Bellator.

After losing his debut to Donald Cerrone via unanimous decision at UFC 178 — the same night McGregor overcame Dustin Poirier — Alvarez bounced back by defeating Gilbert Melendez and former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis to earn his title shot.

Both Alvarez and McGregor are due to attend a press conference at Madison Square Garden this evening, which is scheduled to begin at 11pm Irish time.

Should McGregor emerge victorious on 12 November, he’ll become the first fighter in history to hold two UFC belts simultaneously.

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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