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Return of the Mac! Conor McGregor booked to fight for UFC title in October

In his first MMA bout in two years, McGregor will take on lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

CONOR McGREGOR WILL get an opportunity to regain the UFC lightweight title when he returns to the octagon to face the reigning champion later this year.

McGregor, who boasts a mixed martial arts record of 21-3, will take on undefeated Russian fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0) in Las Vegas.

The much-anticipated bout has been confirmed as the headline attraction at UFC 229, which will take place at the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, 6 October.

While McGregor did have an unsuccessful debut as a professional boxer against Floyd Mayweather in August of last year, the meeting with Nurmagomedov will be the 30-year-old’s first MMA outing since November 2016.

At UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden, the Dubliner became the first fighter to hold two UFC belts simultaneously by dethroning defending lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. The win came 11 months after his featherweight title triumph over Jose Aldo, but he was eventually stripped of both titles due to inactivity.

Nevertheless, McGregor has been handed an immediate shot at getting his hands on one of those belts again by facing the man who has risen to the summit of the 155-pound division in his absence.

Nurmagomedov captured the vacant title in April with a dominant five-round victory of Al Iaquinta, who was drafted in as a late replacement after both Tony Ferguson and Max Holloway had been forced to withdraw from the main event at UFC 223.

MMA 2016 - UFC 205 - New York UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Source: Jason Silva

The Dagestan native has been successful in all 26 of his professional outings, although his progress in the UFC’s lightweight division has often been hampered by persistent injury problems and difficulty making weight.

The match-up with McGregor will make for an intriguing clash of styles, as Nurmagomedov puts his feared wrestling game up against the Irishman’s varied striking arsenal.

Tensions between the pair came to a head in Brooklyn in April when McGregor and several associates attacked a bus carrying UFC fighters, including Nurmagomedov.

It’s understood that the attack was carried out in retaliation to an incident that occurred days earlier, in which Nurmagomedov and members of his team cornered Artem Lobov — McGregor’s Straight Blast Gym team-mate — in a hotel corridor.

McGregor will subsequently have to undertake anger management classes and five days of community service after reaching a plea deal at Brooklyn Criminal Court last month.

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Paul Dollery

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