The one we’ve all been waiting for is now only days away, on July 10th, Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier go to war for the third time in the most exciting, enthralling matchups of 2021. UFC 264 presents 20,000 fans back into the T-Mobile Arena, remember that’s 100% capacity, which is amazing news to have all the supporters back for the trilogy.
Welterweight title challengers Gilbert Burns and Stephen Thompson battle it out in the co-main event, with the winner putting their name straight into the hat of options against Kamaru Usman. Hard-hitting heavyweights Tai Tuivasa and Greg Hardy will be hungry to entertain the returning crowd.
Sean O’Malley returns for the first time since his stunning knockout over Thomas Almeida. His opponent Kris Moutinho steps in on short notice, making his debut in the promotion in the biggest fight of his career. Irene Aldana and Yana Kunitsyaka make up the card, as they look to make a statement in the women’s bantamweight division.
McGregor vs Poirier: The Final Clash
McGregor is eager to get redemption on Poirier, after being finished only five months ago in an explosive night on Fight Island. If things go his way on Saturday night, he could be next up for a title shot. A defeat leaves us with the idea of what’s next for McGregor or will anyone be next for him.
The Irishman has brought us delight over the years, with his outgoing personality to say the least and his stunning rise to become the first double champion in UFC’s history. McGregor shone straight into the featherweight division after becoming the two-weight champion in Cage Warriors. A six-fight win-streak in the UFC led him to the featherweight title shot, where he produced the quickest finish in a UFC title fight in 13 seconds against Jose Aldo.
After the brilliant double-header with Nate Diaz, McGregor earned the double champion status in a masterclass performance against Eddie Alvarez. After losing his last title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov, a win against Poirier would probably make McGregor the number one contender for a shot at the belt again.
Poirier has shown how brilliant and determined of a fighter he is to become the best. He earned the biggest Performance of the Night bonus of his career at UFC 257, showing how much of a different fighter he has become since they fought the first time.
Since that fight, Poirier hasn’t stepped foot back in the featherweight division. He made a statement in his first fight knocking out Carlos Diego Ferreira in the first round and continued that with two more first-round finishes over Yancy Madeiros and Bobby Green before losing to Michael Johnson.
The man from Louisiana loves to spice things up in the Octagon, and the older he got, the more he progressed. We’ve seen some brutal battles with Poirier against the likes of Anthony Pettis and Justin Gaethje. The war with Max Holloway was the first time Poirier had reached five rounds, he proved his abilities with his constant pace and direct punches against one of the best strikers in the game.
After being submitted for the second time in his career for the lightweight title against Khabib, Poirier was involved in another Fight of the Night against Dan Hooker, a seventh FOTN bonus in his UFC career. This led to his destruction of McGregor when they met for a second time.
UFC 178 27th September 2014 – McGregor vs Poirier 1
The first meeting between the two was filled with confrontation. The animosity between the pair started weeks before the fight, with McGregor playing his usual mind games to try and get in his opponent’s head. Poirier wasn’t one to shy away from the trash talk himself, as the pair clashed heavily in the face-off and the weigh-ins.
It would be a lie if we said these two didn’t want to hurt each other because it became personal between them. They were two of the most exciting featherweights in the division at the time, and this fight showed McGregor was the real deal.
McGregor came out on the front foot in his karate stance, backing up Poirier with his high kicks and left hooks. The vicious counter lefts are what McGregor is known for, and he executed his game-plan perfectly in the first fight. He drew Poirier in, so he could catch him with the left. After a few shots, Poirier was hurt and he started to back up, which McGregor saw and took advantage of.
One minute and 46 seconds were all the “Notorious” needed to drop Poirier with a punch and the rest is history. Poirier looked nowhere near his best, and he knew that, by never competing in the featherweight division again.
UFC 257 24th January 2021 – McGregor vs Poirier 2
The second time around, there was a tonne of respect between the pair. It was around six and a half years difference between the two fights, so they’ve both come a long way since the first affair. McGregor, of course, has achieved some amazing things then, and Poirier has too, becoming one of the greatest and most likable fighters in the sport right now.
Poirier has come on leaps and bounds over the years, and stepping up to the lightweight division was the best decision he ever made. McGregor scrapped all the trash talk for this one, but that didn’t mean they didn’t want to knock each other out.
Mistakes in McGregor’s game were spotted early on. He deployed a different style, with a Boxing stance over his usual Karate. Poirier executed his plan from the start, by hammering McGregor with the calf kicks. The Irishman seemed to be falling into Poirier’s trap and committing when he shouldn’t have. This caught McGregor off-guard, with Poirier landing an early takedown.
McGregor worked his way out and deployed some of those shoulders clinches that worked marvelously against Donald Cerrone. A fiery first-round preferably saw McGregor come away with it, but the calf-kicks from Poirer were having a serious effect.
This is why calf-kicks have become a huge part of the game because it deteriorates an opponent if you execute them consistently. Now, this is exactly what happened to McGregor, with Poirier beating up his lead leg, preventing his best skill – the counter left. The further it got into the second round, the more the leg was giving way. Forcing McGregor to the fence was the wisest idea of the fight. Poirier prevented him from moving and he carried on swinging till McGregor crumbled.
McGregor vs Poirier 3 Breakdown
The third and probably final battle between McGregor and Poirier takes place this Saturday and who isn’t excited!? As soon as Poirier finished McGregor in the second fight, we knew it wouldn’t be long till we saw the trilogy. Our wishes were granted, and six months after meeting at Fight Island, they come together for a third time, with a slight bit of controversy involved this time.
Poirier slammed McGregor on his social media by stating ” You also predicted a donation to my foundation and you and your team stopped responding after the fight in January”. McGregor is not the type of person to let things slide, especially when he’s accused of something. He responded with ” A donation, not a debt. We’ve been awaiting the plans for the money that never came. I do with all my donations. Know where it’s going dot for dot. Otherwise, it goes walking. As is the case with a lot of these foundations, sadly”.
This clearly hit a nerve of McGregor’s, with him originally claiming the fight was off and he will face somebody else. Fortunately, it was all the McGregor talk and the fight was still happening. He did throw shade at Poirier though, by donating $500,000 to the boys and girls’ club over in Acadiana. Poirier was pleased about this by stating “It’s a great charity and the money’s going to go where it needs to and help the youth in south Louisiana so charity wins in the end; mission accomplished.”
Let’s get down to business, and try to solve the outcome of this fight, because it’s become more unpredictable than ever. The first thought is, McGregor was the loser in the last fight, it’s him who has to change his game and Poirier has to guess what’s coming.
With the calf-kicks being the biggest impact in the last affair, realistically McGregor will have adapted his game to avoid these, otherwise, we’ll be seeing the same outcome. It could be a case of McGregor using the calf-kicks to his advantage to prevent it from happening to him.
The main thing Poirier can’t do is let McGregor draw him in for the counter left, but surely he knows this now. You can’t let McGregor entice you, or he eats you alive. McGregor is already trying to get into his head on fight week, by putting voice notes on social media referring to Poirier as “peahead”.
When they’re in the cage, all fighting talk will be gone and these two could produce the messiest, most brilliant fight to date. McGregor has to come in with his usual Karate stance if he wants to cause problems for Poirier, otherwise, we could see an exact replication of the last fight.
It could be a case of going for the takedown for Poirier, as McGregor could limit him to options. The start is expected to be fiery as it always is in a McGregor and Poirier fight. There’s plenty of reasons to say what could happen in the fight, but in this one, who even knows?
McGregor vs Poirier Prediction: McGregor 2nd Round TKO
Let us know your predictions in the comments below!