Conor McGregor has waited six months for his chance to exact revenge on Dustin Poirier.
The lightweights will clash this weekend in Las Vegas to settle their seven-year rivalry which will end with one man earning a world title shot.
And the seeds of their trilogy were sewn just minutes after Poirier had stopped McGregor in the second round of their January rematch.
As referee Herb Dean prepared to officially announce the winner, McGregor said to his conqueror: "Good job, Dustin. Good man, good man. We'll do it again."
Poirier responded simply: "We have to." And having had his hand raised by Dean, Poirier held up two fingers and added: "One and one."
McGregor and Poirier first met in 2014 when the brash Irishman stopped his more experienced rival inside the first round.
The Dubliner went on to become first featherweight and then lightweight world champion before his career took a wayward turn.
He was stopped on his professional boxing debut by Floyd Mayweather in 2017 before returning to the cage a year later only to be choked out by bitter adversary Khabib Nurmagomedov.
A 40-second stoppage of Donald Cerrone last year hinted at a return to the 'old McGregor' but his plans were disrupted first by the pandemic and then by Poirier.
The Louisiana native has never been crowned UFC world champion but rejected the chance to take on Charles Oliviera for the vacant title two months ago.
Instead the Brazilian stopped Michael Chandler to inherit Nurmagomedov's belt.
Poirier will earn millions more from his third fight with McGregor than he would have done for challenging for the the title.
And he told ESPN: "Planning out my career, this trilogy means a lot to me personally but also to mixed martial arts.
"My personal goal is to beat Conor again and then I'm still the No.1 contender and I'll fight for the championship and wrap gold around my waist.
"It's a beautiful story and I'm not scared to take different routes or go to the grind; those are just the decisions I've taken and I stand by them.
"Fighting Conor the first time when I was a bit more heated in the moment and cared too much, to come back and beat the guy on the big stage.
"I feel like we owe it to each other to go in there one more time at our best and see who the better fighter is."
McGregor, meanwhile, has been preparing for the third fight in relative secrecy having thus far been more reclusive in social media.
He spent most of his training camp in Dubai before flying to California to complete his preparations. The former two-weight world champion will make a final short trip to Las Vegas on Wednesday before coming face to face with Poirier at the press conference the following day.
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