Dustin Poirier is the #2 ranked Lightweight contender in the UFC. With a career record of 26-6 with 1 No Contest, Dustin has proved himself to be one of the best fighters in his division remaining in the top 10 for the last 8 years. He is set to fight Conor McGregor at the main event of UFC 257 on January 23rd of this year.
In the UFC Poirier has amassed a record of 18-5, with his losses only coming against top ranked contenders and champions such as Khabib Nurmagomedov, The Korean Zombie and Conor McGregor. The McGregor fight happened in 2014 when Poirier was 25 years old. Since that defeat, Dustin has gone 10-2 with one no contest showing his progression as a fighter to only get better with age and experience.
As of 1/20 Dustin Poirier is a heavy underdog at +260 to McGregor's -330. This gap is startling due to the contradicting fight experience over the last three and a half years where McGregor is 1-1 and Poirier is 6-1 with 1 no contest. Poirier's resume in that time includes wins over top ranked lightweight contenders such as Dan Hooker, Max Holloway, Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje while only loosing to quite possibly the greatest Mixed-Martial Artist of his generation, Khabib Nurmagomedov. On the other side, McGregor's only win was against Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone who is a talented veteran, but is not comparable to the names on Poirier's list as far as talent or resumes are concerned.
This brings up the question of why is Dustin such a heavy underdog? Is it because Conor is such a well-known name that people automatically tip the betting scales toward him? Is it because Conor is one of the greatest of all time? Or is it because Conor has already predicted him knocking out Poirier in the first sixty seconds of the first round?
While all these points are somewhat true they're also over-exaggerated and in this writer's opinion have nothing to do with who will perform better come Saturday night. Poirier is a great boxer and a jiu-jitsu black belt of three years. His last fight against Dan Hooker proved he has unbelievable cardio and toughness, while also exhibiting signs of great head movement technique that will do him well to avoid the striking expertise of McGregor. This fight will be a technical masterpiece when it is standing, but if taken to the ground, look for Poirier to show his dominance.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of 'Conor's Return' articles where we break down how we believe the fight will go, including predicted sales of the UFC event. Part 3 will release January 22nd, the day before the astronomical battle between these men. Check out MMA Complete Podcast every Thursday night for more insight and live stream MMA Complete UFC 257 Live Reactions on January 23rd starting at 8 p.m.