UFC President Dana White said Saturday he wanted a third fight between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier to take place in July, and it looks like he's close to getting his wish.
Ariel Helwani of ESPN reported Monday that McGregor-Poirier III is "close to being finalized" as the main event for UFC 264 in July. The deal could be made as soon as this week.
McGregor and Poirier have both expressed a desire to work on a rematch to their bout from January, which saw Poirier earn a second-round TKO victory to put himself in lightweight championship contention.
Michael Chandler will take on Charles Oliveira at UFC 262 for the vacant lightweight championship after Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement. White revealed Thursday that Poirier turned down a title fight to focus on a rematch with McGregor:
"Dustin wants the rematch [with Conor McGregor]. That's smart. That's what he should do. He should take the rematch, take that fight. It's a big fight for him.
"Kid's worked hard his whole life, his whole career to be in a position like this. That's the fight you take. We've been in positions like this before with others who have made the mistake of not taking that fight, and [it was the] biggest mistake of their lives."
UFC 257 did 1.6 million pay-per-view buys with McGregor-Poirier as the main event. It's possible the third fight in their trilogy—McGregor defeated Poirier in their first matchup at UFC 178—could approach the 2 million mark.
White said the UFC is planning to have full fan attendance at upcoming pay-per-views, starting with UFC 261 in Jacksonville, Florida. The location of UFC 264 is yet to be announced, but the plan is for the bout to take place in Las Vegas—assuming White would receive the go-ahead to host the event with full fan attendance.
White has long maintained he would not host UFC events at half-filled arenas.