Old foes will renew their rivalry on Saturday (Jan. 16) when Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier face off for a second time at UFC 257, six years after they first clash in the Octagon.
UFC 257 Info
- Date: Saturday, January 23
- Venue: Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- Viewing Info: ESPN/ESPN Deportes, ESPN+, UFC Fight Pass
- Early Prelims: 6:15 p.m. ET (11:15 p.m. GMT)
- Prelims: 8 p.m. ET (1 a.m. GMT)
- Main Card: 10 p.m. ET (3 a.m. GMT)
McGregor vs. Poirier Prediction: UFC 257 Preview
That showdown—just McGregor’s fourth bout under the UFC banner—was at featherweight and lasted less than two minutes. It went in favor of ‘The Notorious’, who clinched a vicious knockout win to advance his then-perfect record with the promotion:
The sportsbooks believe we’ll see a repeat result in the rematch, with McGregor (22-4) receiving major backing as the -300 moneyline favorite at William Hill for what will be his first fight since January 2020.
Poirier (26-6-1) has been considerably more active of late and had the more recent bout last June, though that hasn’t prevented him being installed as the +240 dark horse in Abu Dhabi.
Neither fighter will be lacking motivation considering UFC president Dana White has all but confirmed the winner of this fight gets a shot at the lightweight championship next up. Unlike his opponent, Poirier is yet to hold the belt during his career and has been biding his time to get a chance of this magnitude:
“If something happens to Dustin Poirier, he is the Conor McGregor, right now, that does not give a s— who we put in that fight on that night. He’s that guy right now… That Conor McGregor is back.”@danawhite says the old Conor McGregor is back 😤 #UFC257 (via @bokamotoESPN) pic.twitter.com/5KW1qC7rl0
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) January 11, 2021
The ‘Diamond’ has much improved since their last meeting and looks far better-equipped to last in the cage with his opponent, but it still seems a matter of “when” and not “if” McGregor will win in his UFC return.
All clues suggest we’re in for a stand-up battle of major proportions in this duel. Both combatants looked eager to exchange when they first met in 2014, though Poirier will have more reverence for McGregor’s striking by now and is sure to come in with a more intelligent game plan.
Both fighters count losses to Khabib Nurmagomedov among their recent results. McGregor lost the UFC lightweight belt to the Dagestan native via a fourth-round submission in October 2018, just short of a year before Khabib collected a third-round submission of Poirier (Sept. 2019).
The Notorious has since defeated Donald Cerrone in less than 40 seconds (Jan. 2020), but that matchup hardly tested the Dubliner. Poirier, on the other hand, will have gained new admirers after beating Dan Hooker in his last bout, a second decision win in three outings after he beat Max Holloway at UFC 236:
“This is a new version of @DustinPoirier, will we get a new version of Conor McGregor?”
Since 2014, Dustin Poirier has fought his way to the top of the lightweight division 💎
Watch #OpenMat on YouTube 👉 https://t.co/FntxBPmUin pic.twitter.com/ODAK1yQ6o4
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) January 11, 2021
Evasion and energy consumption will be two keys for The Diamond as he seeks to improve upon his first result against McGregor, whose four career losses have each come via submission. McGregor is no pushover when it comes to grappling, but it’s a weakness of his if we have to point one out, and it could be the ground game provides the key for a surprise result for Poirier.
More likely is the outcome that Poirier looks to assert ground control and score points grappling; Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt or not, however, he’s no Khabib.
Nate Diaz is the only fighter who has gone five rounds with McGregor, but his absence from the Octagon in recent years combined with Poirier’s improvements could see that record change. A decision win for The Notorious pays a handy +600 price as both fighters brace themselves for a lightweight title-shot decider to savor.
Prediction: McGregor via decision (+600)
McGregor vs. Poirier 2 Moneyline Odds
Dustin Poirier: +240
Conor McGregor: -300
Odds via William Hill NJ