On September 27, 2014 in the MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas, Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier came together at UFC 178 for the first time in their early careers.
A TKO in the first round seemed like a rather routine win for McGregor in his quest for stardom, little did the Irishman know a rematch against Poirer is set to define his legacy.
After this, McGregor went on to become a double champion in two different weights, picking up wins against Nate Diaz, Jose Aldo, and Chad Mendes on the way to becoming UFC’s defining personality.
Meanwhile, Poirier went on to establish himself as one of the best lightweights in the division. Poirier in his own right demands an incredible amount of respect with wins against Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez, and Max Holloway on his way to a championship shot against Khabib Nurmagomedov. The occasion did not go his way, becoming another number on Khabib’s undefeated streak just like Poirier’s upcoming opponent McGregor.
Since 2014, a lot has changed for both fighters and the landscape of the Lightweight division. The division is heating up following Khabib Nurmagomedov’s shocking retirement and relinquishment of the belt. Both fighters are coming off wins, with Poirier winning via unanimous decision against Dan Hooker, while McGregor dispatched UFC veteran Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds of the first round after a two-year break from the sport.
‘’This is the best I have ever been, for sure,’’ McGregor insisted, while promising a ‘’masterpiece,’’ at UFC 257. It is a well-known fact that McGregor hoped to fight more in 2020 to showcase this new version of himself, however, COVID-19 put a halt limiting him to just the one fight in the calendar year.
Many expect the fight to remain on the feet with both fighters boasting exceptional boxing and accuracy with their striking. Although it could be argued that due to McGregor’s early knockout of Porier back in 2014, the Irishman has the mental advantage already.
If the fight potentially ends up in the championship rounds, McGregor has the chance to showcase his conditioning and stamina which has been criticised in the past. McGregor has said he feels confident going into the late rounds, but does not expect the fight to go that long.
Questions have also been raised on Porier being too easy to be hit and the consequences of McGregor’s right-hand landing clean. Poirier’s recent wars with the likes of Gathje and Holloway has shown Porier’s warpaint and the ability to come forward in the late rounds and command the Octagon with an aggressive pace.
UFC 257 opens up a big calendar year for the UFC, and the return of McGregor will always have people’s attention. McGregor has seemed to find comfort in the birth of his son and seems to put previous troubles behind him with a focus on dominating the UFC Lightweight division. While Porier looks to further cement his place in the UFC lightweight division and to finally reach the title.
UFC 257 also provides an enthralling co-Main Event with Dan Hooker taking on former Bellator Lightweight champion and UFC newcomer Micheal Chandler in the Lightweight division.
When the dust settles on UFC 257 come the early hours of Sunday morning, the event will provide more insight into the future of the Lightweight division and could also pressure Khabib into a much anticipated return.