UFC 257 Main Event Breakdown: Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier II
We have an incredibly anticipated rematch to look forward to this weekend at UFC 257, as ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor and Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier battle it out in the five-round main event.
Now, it’s unlikely this fight goes that long, with their first only lasting 106 seconds, but of course, that’s what it’s scheduled for. This is such a compelling fight, not only because of how they match up together, but because of all the improvements each has made since their first encounter.
First, we’ll go over their careers leading up to this fight, and then we’ll talk about the fight itself. But before we do, check out the promo code 1xBet ahead of the weekend’s big fight.
We first got notice of ‘The Diamond’ when he debuted in the WEC with a record of 7-0 against lightweight contender Danny Castillo, where he was defeated via unanimous decision. He followed this up with a 53-second TKO victory over Zach Micklewright three months later.
Poirier followed this up with dropping down to featherweight for his UFC debut, where he battered No. 1 contender Josh Grispi to a unanimous decision victory.
He’d go on to win his next three bouts over the likes of Jason Young (UD), Pablo Garza (D’Arce choke), and Max Holloway (triangle armbar), before suffering just his second defeat.
That defeat came against Chan Sung Jung via submission (D’Arce choke) in round four of their back-and-forth war, bringing his record to 12-2. Poirier then submitted (D’Arce choke) The Ultimate Fighter 12 winner Jonathan Brookins, before losing a unanimous decision to Cub Swanson.
Poirier would win his next three bouts over the likes of Erik Koch (UD), Diego Brandao (TKO), and Akira Corassani (TKO), before being knocked out by Conor McGregor. Poirier decided to move up to 155 lbs following this defeat, and it’s the best choice he’s made in his entire career.
‘The Diamond’ initially went on a four-fight win streak up at lightweight, defeating the likes of Carlos Diego Ferreira (KO), Yancy Medeiros (TKO), Joseph Duffy (UD), and Bobby Green (KO), before suffering a knockout defeat to Michael Johnson.
Since this however, he’s only lost a single time, to Khabib Nurmagomedov, while he’s defeated Jim Miller (MD), Anthony Pettis (injury), Justin Gaethje (TKO), Eddie Alvarez (TKO), Max Holloway (UD), and Dan Hooker (UD).
‘The Notorious’ had all eyes on him as soon as his UFC debut was all said and done.
He came to the UFC with a record of 12-2, having claimed the Cage Warriors featherweight & lightweight titles immediately before coming over, and he TKO’d Marcus Brimage 67 seconds into round one of his promotional debut.
Next came a bout against Max Holloway, who he handily out-classed on the feet, and on the mat to a unanimous decision victory. McGregor then had a homecoming bout against The Ultimate Fighter 14 winner Diego Brandao, and TKO’d him toward the end of round one.
After just three fights in the UFC, and he was already being booked against someone like Poirier, and he obviously passed that test with flying colors. He then took a bout against Dennis Siver in order to stay active, before being set to challenge Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight championship.
Only Aldo wasn’t going to be defending his title this time around, as he broke his rib leading up to their fight, and was replaced by Chad Mendes for an interim. Though Mendes was able to out-wrestle McGregor, he still got finished at the end of round two. We knew at this point, ‘The Notorious’ is for real.
This was followed up by McGregor KO’ing Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds of their title-unification bout, and he was now the UFC featherweight champion.
McGregor was then slated against then UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos for the 155 lb strap, but again, McGregor was forced to take a short-notice fight, due to dos Anjos withdrawing himself from the bout with a broken foot.
This led up to him being submitted (rear naked choke) by Nate Diaz in round two up at 170 lbs, before he came back later that summer to win the rematch via majority decision. At the end of that same year, McGregor challenged former Bellator lightweight champion and then UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez for his title.
‘The Notorious’ put on perhaps the greatest performance in UFC history, and TKO’d Alvarez in round two to become the first simultaneous two-weight world champion in UFC history. He then had his boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr, before returning to challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov for the title he never lost in a fight.
McGregor lost this bout via submission (neck crank) in round four, and didn’t come back for another near 16 months, where he dispatched of 28-0-1 professional kickboxer via TKO Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds.
That brings us up to date on these two studs, now we look at the match up:
Conor McGregor (22-4) vs. Dustin Poirier (26-6) 1 NC
Firstly, we have to consider their first fight. We’ve got to look at the fact that McGregor did knock Poirier out well before the first half of round one was over with. We’ve also got to understand, he’s an incredibly fast starter.
All of McGregor’s fights prove him to be, and he’s dangerous all the way up until round three. We haven’t seen him finish anyone past round two, but he finished Siver at 1:54 of round two, he finished Mendes at 4:57 of round two, and he finished Alvarez at 3:04 of round two.
You see, he doesn’t just gas after the first round, he is well conditioned. McGregor is just a fast-twitch muscle-fiber athlete. That being said, Poirier certainly does have the advantage should this fight go past round two, and should it hit the mat.
‘The Diamond’ is a BJJ black belt under Tim Creuder, and he’s very dangerous with it. We saw Poirier’s grappling a little more often earlier on in his career, before he took to boxing and became so heavy handed, but he still has all those tools in his arsenal.
Think about it, two fights ago, when Poirier was challenging Khabib Nurmagomedov for the title, that guillotine he had locked in on the champion in round three, if that choke was locked in on McGregor, the fight probably would’ve been over.
Poirier’s ground game is far superior to McGregor’s, but the thing is getting him down to the mat. McGregor’s takedown defense is incredible. People bash ‘The Notorious’ for his ground game because all four of his defeats come via submission and he was out-wrestled by Chad Mendes and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Firstly, two of those defeats came earlier in his career, the other two are to grappling wizards in Nate Diaz and Khabib Nurmagomedov, and secondly, Mendes is one of best best NCAA Division I wrestlers in this sports history, and Nurmagomedov is the best overall grappler in this sports history.
Not to mention, McGregor was preparing for Jose Aldo when he fought Mendes, and he went into that fight with an 80% tear in his ACL on less than two weeks notice. He couldn’t drill takedown defense even if he wanted to. Chances are, Poirier’s wrestling isn’t strong enough to get McGregor down.
That means it will most likely play out entirely on the feet, and on the feet, there’s no one in the sport like ‘The Notorious’. His precision, his accuracy, his power, it’s truly something special.
McGregor knows just when to pivot his feet and just when to turn his knuckles over in order to make his punches sting, rather than thud. Thuds are generally more telegraphed, and honestly, they don’t hurt, unless the opponent doesn’t see it coming.
McGregor doesn’t telegraph anything. His punches just roll right off his shoulders and rattle his opponents brain every time he lands just about.
Poirier has shown ability to being hurt. He got wobbled a few times down at 145 lbs, but luckily for him, the only fight he was finished in by strikes at 145 lbs was against McGregor. At 155 lbs, he’s more durable, the only time he’s been finished with strikes up there is by Michael Johnson.
Most of us know, Johnson can crack, and he’s incredibly fast, but Poirier is the superior fighter. He just walked into Johnson’s best punch that’s taken quite a few people out. Think about it, Johnson may have a record of 19-16 now, but he has victories over Poirier, Edson Barboza, and Tony Ferguson.
He was for the longest time the only man to defeat Ferguson in the UFC, and won all three rounds handily against him. Ferguson was a top five lightweight for over five years, Barboza was a top five-six lightweight for five years, and Poirier’s been a top five lightweight ever since coming back from losing to Johnson.
This will be a very telling match up to see who fights for the title next, or so we think. ‘The Eagle’ did say when he interrupted The Schmo’s podcast with Matt Serra and Din Thomas that he was going to come back. We can only hope.
McGregor stands 5’9” and boasts a whopping 74” reach advantage, while Poirier stands 5’9” with a reach of 72”.
Who wins this lightweight rematch of top three contenders at UFC 257?
I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.