This Saturday, Jan. 23, 10 p.m. EST live on ESPN+, The Notorious Conor McGregor will return to the octagon to put on, in his words, a “masterpiece” against the number two ranked lightweight Dustin Poirier. McGregor has not had a bout in the UFC since January of 2020 where he defeated UFC legend, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, in 40 seconds of the very first round.
McGregor fought a Cowboy that was coming off two straight defeats to top-ranked lightweights (Gaethje and Ferguson). This time he will be fighting Poirier who has won five of his last six fights (all lightweight), losing only to Khabib Nurmagomedov, the pound for pound number one fighter in the UFC. McGregor has also fought Khabib and met the same fate. Both fighters are motivated to put themselves in a position to fight for the lightweight championship by winning this fight.
McGregor and Poirier fought early in their careers at featherweight and Conor came out on top with a knockout victory in the first round. McGregor is famous for his trash talk and both fighters believe that played a factor in the outcome of their first fight in 2014. Poirier has come a long way since that defeat, moving up to lightweight and climbing the rankings, going 10-2 in his fights since that loss.
This time around both fighters have been more focused on their preparation and training. McGregor has said that he thinks he will “KO Dustin within one minute” but it is not out of disrespect to Dustin, it is out of respect and dedication to his own intensive training. Poirier claims that the trash talk does not faze him anymore and that he is “acquainted” with this type of stage and will be ready for a war this time.
This is going to be an exciting standup fight. Both fighters are going to look for KO shots and it’s going to come down to who can land more shots and take less damage. I feel Conor will pick the right shots and keep a distance with his reach advantage (74” vs 72”) until Dustin has to close the distance. I do not see this fight going the full five rounds and have Conor winning by KO in the first round.