UFC president Dana White has confirmed Conor McGregor will make his return to the sport this year against Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The Irishman hasn't stepped into the Octagon since 2016 but will face Nurmagomedov for the lightweight strap at UFC 229 on October 6.

It was widely tipped McGregor's return bout would be against Nurmagomedov and while neither man was present at a press conference in Las Vegas on Saturday (AEST) to promote UFC 229, White delivered the news fight fans have been waiting for.

"They're not here, unfortunately," White said. "But the fight is done. October, Las Vegas. It's on, ladies and gentlemen."

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The explosive showdown will have extra meaning to it in light of McGregor's sickening rampage ahead of UFC 223 in April. "The Notorious" attacked a bus full of fighters in Brooklyn, throwing a metal trolley at the windows, in retaliation for Nurmagomedov and his entourage squaring off with McGregor's training partner Artem Lobov earlier in the week.

McGregor recently pleaded guilty to charges stemming from that attack and must now take anger management classes and perform community service.

McGregor, who fought Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match last August, will attempt to win back the UFC lightweight title he was stripped of because of inactivity.

Nurmagomedov filled the power vacuum in the division when he claimed the belt for himself by defeating Al Iaquinta via unanimous decision at UFC 223 after Max Holloway withdrew from the card.

McGregor hasn't fought in the UFC since November 2016. His TKO win against Eddie Alvarez, secured in the second round, saw him make history by becoming the first fighter to simultaneously hold titles in two weight classes, adding Alvarez's lightweight strap to the featherweight belt he claimed after a win over Jose Aldo at UFC 194 in December 2015.