Six months after suffering the first knockout loss of his career, Conor McGregor is on the cusp of an even bigger battle when he faces Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 on Saturday.
Poirier, 32, avenged his first-round loss to McGregor in 2014 with a stoppage of his own in their January rematch, with the winner of their rubber match up for a likely lightweight title shot.
And McGregor, also 32, already has his heart set on a record-breaking December duel against incumbent champion Charles Oliveira, who finished Michael Chandler to claim the vacant belt in May.
‘The Notorious’ told his website, The Mac Life, he wants to face ‘Do Bronx’ at a 72,000-seat Las Vegas venue that could break boundaries for a UFC gate: "That Allegiant Stadium is where we're heading. I feel maybe Christmas time, December, I don’t know, we’ll talk afterwards.
“But that world title will be contested at the Allegiant Stadium here in Las Vegas, I'd imagine so.
"I like the look of it, it's called the Death Star as well and that's what I'm feeling like right now, a death star.”
Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, holds the top two attendance records in UFC history.
A total of 56,214 fans witnessed Holly Holm’s devastating knockout of Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 in November 2015.
However, the venue broke the record once more when 57,127 turned up to watch Israel Adesanya knock out Robert Whittaker and unify the middleweight titles at UFC 243 in October 2019.
Allegiant Stadium is home to the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders and holds a capacity crowd of 72,000, leaving room to smash the standard even if that number is reduced for a mixed-martial arts event.
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McGregor immediately sounded out Oliveira, 31, for a potential title bout after the latter beat Chandler, tweeting: "Congrats to Oliveira on becoming the 11th UFC lightweight champion. Wonder who Twelve is…"
The Dubliner—who boasts a 22-5 record in MMA—is especially motivated to reclaim his former crown following the release of his Proper No. Twelve whiskey in 2018.
Speaking to The Mac Life, he added: "I'll be the twelfth lightweight title holder and this is my 12th UFC main event this Saturday and I'm aiming for my 20th mixed martial arts knockout.”
McGregor finished Eddie Alvarez in the second round of their 2016 encounter to take the lightweight belt, becoming the UFC’s first simultaneous two-weight champion in the process.
He was later stripped of the title due to inactivity and had a lay-off lasting almost two years before returning in October 2018, when he suffered a fourth-round submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The Irishman has returned to his trash-talking roots in the build-up to UFC 264, having been in a far friendlier mood than usual prior to his rematch against Poirier earlier this year.
Saturday’s trilogy fight represents a potential crossroads for McGregor, with a date opposite 31-8-1 Oliveira being the biggest upside.
However, former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping told Daily Star Sport another loss to ‘The Diamond’ could lead to a second retirement: "If Conor wins, and I'm not Dana White, but I would say that he's 100% next in line for the belt and probably fighting Charles Oliveira, the same goes for Dustin.
"If McGregor loses… who knows what's gonna happen. I'm not saying that he will definitely retire but it's a possibility. He always said that he was going to get in, get rich and get out, well he got in, won two belts, certainly got rich and the next step is to get out.
"Is he interested in trying to climb his way back up to a title fight by getting on a win streak and beating two or three guys? I'm not sure if he has the patience for that.”
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