Conor McGregor’s 2020 fell short of his expectations and a plethora of McGregor’s fans also tasted disappointment. The UFC expected a minimum of three fights throughout the calendar year from the Dubliner, one of these matchups being the much-anticipated rematch against Khabib Nurmagomedov, pre-retirement.
Instead, the Irishman fought for a total of 40 seconds, which was all that was needed to beat the fading gunslinger Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone. The pandemic inevitably affected McGregor’s movements and he became frustrated threatening to hang up the gloves again.
Dustin Poirier, on the other hand, fought once also in the 2020 calendar year but raised a few eyebrows after a tantalising 5-round performance after dispatching a resilient and battle-hardened Dan Hooker.
The two warriors are preparing to descend on to Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island on January 23, with the event etched into fight fans’ calendars across the globe. Let’s have a look ahead of UFC 257 and the moving variables that encompass it.
UFC 257: Fight Island
UFC 257 will be hosted at the Etihad Arena on ‘Fight Island’ Abu Dhabi. The UFC have transformed the island into a self-sufficient sports arena that could host a variety of elite events.
McGregor and Poirier prepare to clash on January 23 showcasing 2021’s fight year, but this is not the first time the two have traded leather. The pair last stepped into the eight walls of death in 2014, and Poirier will still have bitter memories of the left hand that left him tasting canvass.
McGregor made short work of the “Diamond” after going to work and dispatching him in the first round. Poirier was by far the highest-ranked fighter that McGregor had tangled with, but the Irishman’s stock rose higher after he ran riot in the ring landing a flurry of blows to Poirier’s head which ultimately ended the bout.
It must be said that Poirier has come into his own since that fateful night against the Irishman. The American had a brief run as interim champion after a dominant win over a rough-and-ready Max Holloway. Poirier’s record speaks for itself since the Conor fight, marching on a 10-2 run with one loss coming against the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov, arguably the most dominant fighter the UFC has ever seen.
He bounced back from that defeat with a fight of the year against New Zealander Dan Hooker, just to remind everyone how deep the 155-pound division can be. Both fighters charged into the belly of the beast exchanging blows and making the bout the most exciting fight of the year. Poirier secured the decision on points but could be forgiven for a sweat on his brow after Hooker’s performance.
Conor McGregor has had a tumultuous few years since his encounter with Dustin Poirier. The Dubliner has also swallowed two defeats, one against his old arch-rival Nate Diaz and he fell short to Khabib Nurmagomedov,which ended up erupting into a myriad of chaos after the bout.
McGregor has also seen some huge positives added to his impressive fight card after the Dustin scuffle, he overcame Nate Diaz in an electric rematch and put Jose Aldo to the canvass in 13 seconds. McGregor had drawn considerable plaudits from UFC president Dana White, and was the clear favorite in the fixed odds to dispatch Cerrone.
‘The Notorious’ made short work of the veteran in Cerrone, peppering the aging cowboy with a shower of punches, eventually switching to unorthodox shoulder attacks, nullifying and weakening his opponent before finishing ‘Cowboy’ on the canvas. McGregor made a huge statement that he had returned.
McGregor has made some bold statements in his time and the large majority of it he has followed through with. McGregor has been even bolder with his prediction for this rematch, claiming he will “knock Dustin out in 60 seconds”.
Of course, the Irishman has been known to get his business done in the earlier rounds but this time around he’s stepping into the ring 6 years on with a hungrier, much more experienced and an all-round more durable fighter. There are few reasons to go against McGregor’s claims that he will stop this fight early, but due to inactivity, a first-round stoppage might be a little ambitious.
Admittedly, Poirier has seen huge improvements in his fight game, but has done little to suggest that this rematch won’t be an all-out brawl between the two athletes that both enjoy standing and trading. ‘The Diamond’ recently was heard saying “both of us to be dripping blood and hurting and suffering early in the fight, then we can find out who’s the real fighter”.
Both fighters have had ample time to prepare for this blockbuster showdown and we are almost certain UFC 257 will not disappoint.