Dustin Poirier v Conor McGregor: UFC 257 - The big questions answered

By Sports Desk January 22, 2021

Conor McGregor has promised to put on an emphatic show against Dustin Poirier on Fight Island this weekend.

You don't get the nickname "Mystic Mac" for nothing and his latest bout, albeit it occurred 12 months ago, was a rapid dismantling of Donald Cerrone so it would not be a surprise to see the Irishman be true to his word.

Poirier is one of the most respected fighters in UFC, though, and if McGregor takes his eye off the prize then an upset could be on the cards.

The beauty of MMA is no one really knows how a fight will pan out but, that being said, we've tried to answer some of the big questions ahead of a blockbuster UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi.

Wait, didn't Conor McGregor retire?

Well…he said he had. Here's the thing, McGregor has twice before said he's retired and both times come back to fight. The pandemic seemed to derail McGregor's rejuvenated focus but no one truly believed he was done for good.

Okay, so tell me who is Dustin Poirier?

Seasoned UFC fans need no introduction to Poirier, an experienced campaigner with an excellent MMA CV. Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway are just some of the elite names Poirier has beaten. The latter fight earned him the interim lightweight belt but he came up short when fighting the fearsome Khabib Nurmagomedov for the full title. Poirier rebounded to defeat Dan Hooker in June and now he gets another crack at McGregor.

Oh, they've fought before…what happened the first time around?

McGregor scored a huge first-round knockout victory that really catapulted him to new levels of stardom and it goes without saying the 32-year-old has since transcended the world of UFC and is one of the most globally recognised sports stars.

What's different this time?

Well firstly, both men are older. Their first bout occurred in April 2014 and there was no love lost in a typically robust build-up to a McGregor fight. But the histrionics have largely been replaced by the more respectful tones of experienced fighters – both of whom are now fathers. Poirier has lost just twice since his defeat to McGregor, while this bout takes place at lightweight, whereas their first encounter was at featherweight.

Where will the fight be won?

Poirier is a completely different animal this time around – the emotive blow-for-blow scrapper has been replaced by a colder, more calculated tactician in the Octagon. McGregor remains a lethal striker and both men will want to dominate standing up. If McGregor is on song it's hard to look past a win for the Irishman.

Will the winner get to fight Khabib?

Well it's certainly the one McGregor is hankering for. Their first bout of course ended in an ugly brawl between the two camps, but McGregor remains desperate to prove he can avenge that submission defeat from October 2018. Poirier is also on a five-man shortlist of fighters to face Khabib, who for now remains retired following his win over Gaethje late last year. The unbeaten Russian met with UFC president Dana White to discuss the possibility of a comeback but it is by no means certain he returns.

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