Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – When Conor McGregor Being involved, there is always the possibility of overstatement. When you have a superstar this big, everything tends to ask for some points – including any comments about him or an upcoming fight. But let me say, I’ve been genuinely looking forward to this moment since the end of 2016.
Whether all of this pays off, only time will tell. But I think we might finally realize the true combat potential of McGregor in 2021. If you go back to the end of 2016, McGregor was the featherweight and lightweight winner. He avenged his loss Nate Diaz. He wasn’t considered the best fighter ever in the world, but he was on the radar for that honor.
Of course, we all know what happened next. MacGregor (22-4), who is fighting Dustin Poirier In a lightweight untitled fight at UFC 257 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi (main card at 10 PM ET, Buy here at pay-per-view), Pursued a lucrative boxing match against Floyd Mayweather in 2017, ran into various legal troubles, and lost a tournament battle for Khabib Nurmagomedov In 2018, he didn’t fight at all in 2019 and competed once in 2020 for less than a minute.
And frankly, it’s not hard to understand all of that. MacGregor rose to unprecedented levels of fame in 2016, and capitalized on the battle of Mayweather. That match was entertaining and paid for McGregor more than any MMA fight, but it was also a massive farce and pivot from what he could have achieved in MMA.
Weird to think: McGregor has been in the UFC since 2013, and one could argue that he only competed in his most natural weight class twice. Cut to featherweight was manageable yet brutal. It doesn’t even come close to the average welterweight size. McGregor is lightweight, and we only saw him compete there in 2016, when he won the belt Eddie Alvarez, And 2018, when he failed to take it back against Nurmagomedov.
See, we know who McGregor is as a celebrity and a public figure. He had an obvious effect on me Whole Fight the sports industry, as well as the sports media industry as a whole. And we know a lot about him as a fighter too. We know he’s very talented. We know he was the UFC’s first ‘Champion’. We know it’s good – even cool.
But we don’t know how cool he really is. This is the remaining portion to be determined. He never veered into the realm of “money battle” with Mayweather and more or less disappeared from the competition after that, what would he have done? Defended the Lightweight Championship several times? The third belt challenge? He might even have it To hit Nurmagomedov under different conditions, if he had maintained all the momentum of 2016?
I really hope we find out, really. McGregor has said time and time again that he’s committed to this 155-pound tire, and looks to be active in 2021. We know McGregor is an amazing fighter. I want to know this year exactly How cool it can be.
By the numbers
91: The percentage of McGregor wins completed (19 knockouts and 1 submission in 22 wins).
1.95: Knockouts per 15 minutes in the cage for McGregor, eighth highest in UFC history.
8: McGregor-themed pay-per-view events since 2015, including this one. Just Daniel Cormier (9) Do it more. This will be McGregor PPV’s fourth major event and it’s an untitled fight, the most of any event in the past 10 years.
Sources: ESPN stats and information, and UFC stats
Since then …
Five versus five
Dustin Poirier’s latest results
Wins: Dan Hooker (UD, June 27, 2020; Watch on ESPN +)
Loss: Khabib Nurmagomedov (Sub3, Sep 7, 2019; Watch on ESPN +)
Wins: Max Holloway (UD, April 13, 2019; Watch on ESPN +)
Wins: Eddie Alvarez (TKO2, July 28, 2018)
Wins: Justin Githji (TKO4, April 14, 2018)
Latest Conor McGregor results
Wins: Donald Seroni (TKO1, January 18, 2020; Watch on ESPN +)
Loss: Khabib Nurmagomedov (Section 4, October 6, 2018; Watch on ESPN +)
Wins: Eddie Alvarez (TKO2, November 12, 2016; Watch on ESPN +)
Wins: Nate Diaz (MD, 20 August 2016; Watch on ESPN +)
Loss: Nate Diaz (Sub2, Mar 5, 2016; Watch on ESPN +)
Study Dom and Jill
Dominic Cruz on why Poirier-McGregor 1 followed the way it went:
Gilbert Melendez talks about how Poirier-McGregor 2 could work differently:
And the winner is …
UFC Hall of Famer says: “I think Poirier will try to fight smart and win a mixed martial arts match, not make it a stand-up fight or a struggle battle.” Uriah Faber. “Connor looked very impressive about his athletic performance. He seems to be taking it really seriously. I’m leaning on Connor’s side again.”
Faber is one of many fighters and coaches who have put their weight in analysis and predictions. See what they have to say here.
The ESPN MMA Analyzer delves deeper into the battle collapse Gilbert Melendez, Strikeforce Lightweight Champion twice and former WEC Lightweight Champion. His starting point: This is a rematch.
Melendez writes, “McGregor had the best of Poirere in years, and no matter what, it would dramatically affect the mentality of both fighters.”
How to watch the battles
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There is, too FightCenterAnd the Which offers live updates for every UFC card.
Saturday Battle Pass
PPV (via ESPN +)And the 10pm ET
Dustin Poirier against. Conor McGregor | Lightweight
Dan Hooker against. Michael Chandler | Lightweight
Jessica I. against. Joan Calderwood | Fly weight for women
Andrew Sanchez against. Mahmoud Muradov | Average weight
Marina Rodriguez against. Amanda Ribas | Straw weight
ESPN / ESPN +And the 8:00 PM ET
Frivula died against. Armand Tsarukyan | Lightweight
Brad Tavares against. Antonio Carlos Newbie | Average weight
Juliana Pina against. Sarah McMahon | Pants weight for women
Khalil Rountree, Jr. against. Marcin Prachneux | Light heavy weight
ESPN +And the 7 pm ET
Movsar Evluev against. Nick Lentz | Fishing weight (150 lbs)
Amir Albazi against. Zhalgas Zhumagulov | The weight of the fly for men
The joint main event unveils the champ
Michael Chandler, Former Bellator Lightweight Champion, makes his debut in Octagon at UFC 257 Main Event, in a showdown Dan Hooker, Which is ranked 6th on the ESPN Lightweight Rankings. Chandler is number 7.
Chandler will be the ninth former Bellator champion to move to the UFC, with the former eight going 5-3 in their starts. Winners: Alexander VolkovAnd the Lyman is goodAnd the I’m drunkAnd the Will Brooks And the Zak Makovsky. Who lost: Hector LombardAnd the Eddie Alvarez And the Joe Soto.
Alvarez is the only former Bellator Champion to win the UFC title.
A couple of notable numbers – or why maybe referees don’t need to bother taking their cageside seats: Chandler has finished 76% of his career fights (nine knockouts and seven serves in 21 wins), and Hooker’s finishing rate of 85% (10 knockouts and seven serves In 20 career wins).
Two more things to know (from ESPN Statistics & Information)
1. Joan Calderwood, Who faces the title competitor 2019 Jessica I.In the Ultimate Fighting Championship, she scored 444 hitting hits, the third-largest in women’s flyweight history. Calderwood is # 5 on ESPN’s ratings for the 125-lb section.
2. Unlocking the main card is a match between the best straws of Brazilians Marina Rodriguez8 in the ESPN rankings at 115 pounds, and Amanda RibasWhich is 4-0 in the octagon. Rodriguez gets over her first defeat of her career, a separate decision loss to the former champ Carla Esparza In July. Ribas finished in seven out of 10 wins in her career (four serveings, three by knockout).
ESPN’s Jeff Wagenheim contributed this fight preview.