THE UFC are hoping to book Conor McGregor's eagerly-anticipated trilogy fight with Dustin Poirier for July, it's been claimed.
A rubber match between the former featherweight rivals has been in the works for the last few weeks.
The UFC initially wanted the pair's third clash to take place in May but were unable to finalise a deal with both fighters.
And according to ESPN's Ariel Helwani, the third instalment of McGregor vs Poirier is now being targeted for July.
He tweeted: "There was once a hope McGregor-Poirier 3 fight would get done for May 15 but it’s taken longer than hoped/expected so they moved on from that a while ago, sources say.
"Won’t happen on June 12 (Figueiredo-Moreno on that card), so latest hope is the July 10 card. We’ll see."
It means McGregor must wait for his chance to return to winning ways in UFC.
Fan favourite Poirier, 32, exacted revenge on McGregor in the main event of UFC 257 in January.
Nearly seven years after being KO'd by the Irishman, the pride of Louisiana settled the score with a second-round KO at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
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Poirier decimated McGregor's lead leg with brutal calf kicks in the first round before hurting and finishing him in the second.
But The Notorious' head coach – John Kavanagh – believes the former two-division champion already has a better handle on how to deal with the debilitating strikes.
He told BT Sport: "We’ve gotta figure out these fricking calf kicks, how to use them and defend them.
"We’re pretty confident we have that sorted out now.
"I think he looked excellent everywhere else so give us a rematch and we have the rematch, I feel.”
Former interim lightweight champion Poirier expects McGregor to adapt to his game plan and foresees their third showdown being a completely 'different' fight.
TOTALLY DIFFERENT FIGHT
When asked if he believes he has the Dubliner's number, Poirier told UFC commentator Joe Rogan: "It's fighting, man.
"I don't think you ever really have [someone's number].
"He'll make adjustments and it'll be a completely different fight.
"Like the first one and the second was different, the third one is gonna be different as well."
Poirier intends to switch things up too, adding: "I'm gonna make adjustments as well.
"I've gotta switch it up, keep things fresh and keep him guessing."
McGregor, 32, is relishing his series decider with The Diamond, saying: "One a piece now with a trilogy bout for all the marbles!
“Not a trilogy I was expecting, nor the tactical affair I was anticipating, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t meant to be.
“This is exactly how this was always meant to be! Buzzing!!”
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