Conor McGregor doesn’t look past Dustin Poirier, but “The Notorious” definitely had a big picture in mind as he prepped for Saturday’s UFC 257 main event on “Fight Island”. And that big picture involves staying active and eventually fighting for the easy belt.
Current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has made it clear that he wants to retire and it seems like a question of whether – not when – Nurmagomedov will give up the belt, with the main event on Saturday having a huge impact on the title.
ESPN has Poirier # 3 and McGregor # 10 in the world at £ 155. It will be McGregor’s first fight since a 40-second knockout to Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 in January 2020 and his first lightweight since losing to Nurmagomedov in 2018. McGregor and Poirier fought previously, with McGregor winning a TKO first-round featherweight fight at UFC 178 in 2014.
McGregor (22-4) has won three of his last four fights, the only loss during that time being in a title fight against Nurmagomedov. The Irish native was the first simultaneous double champion in UFC history and won the lightweight belt against Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November 2016 while holding the featherweight title. The biggest money maker in UFC history, 32-year-old McGregor even crossed the MMA and switched to boxing in a match against Floyd Mayweather.
Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) has only one defeat in his last eight fights, including against Nurmagomedov. The native Louisian, who trains from the top American team in Florida, won a unanimous win against Dan Hooker last June. The 32-year-old Poirier has been 10-2 (1 NC) since losing to McGregor in 2014 and is a constant competitor in the lightweight.
In the co-main event, former three-time Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler will make his long-awaited UFC debut against Hooker. ESPN has Hooker No. 6 and Chandler No. 7 in the world lightweight. The winner would also be involved in the title interview.
Also on the map, Jessica Eye and Joanne Calderwood meet in a female flyweight grudge game. Amanda Ribas faces Marina Rodriguez in a women’s strawweight bout. and top prospects Arman Tsarukyan takes on Matt Frevola in an easy competition.
Fight in progress:
Catchweight (150 pounds): Movsar Evloev (13-0, 3-0 UFC, -575) vs Nik Lentz (30-11-2 1 NC, 14-8-1 1 NC UFC +425)
The men’s flyweight: Amir Albazi (14-1, 2-0 UFC) against Zhalgas Zhumagulov (13-5, 0-2 UFC) by unanimous decision
Look back to come.
Still to come:
Lightweight: Dustin Poirier (26-6 1 NC, 18-5 1 NC UFC, +250) against Conor McGregor (22-4, 10-2 UFC, -310)
Lightweight: Dan Hooker (20-9, 10-5 UFC, -140) vs. Michael Chandler (21-5, 0-0 UFC, +120)
Women’s flyweight: Jessica Eye (15-8 1 NC, 5-7 1 NC UFC +100) versus Joanne Calderwood (14-5, 6-5 UFC, -120)
Middleweight: Andrew Sanchez (13-5, 5-3 UFC, +120) against Makhmud Muradov (24-6, 2-0 UFC, -140)
Straw weight: Marina Rodriguez (12-1-2, 2-1-2 UFC, +260) versus Amanda Ribas (10-1, 4-0 UFC, -330)
Lightweight: Matt Frevola (8-1-1, 2-1-1 UFC, +475) against Arman Tsarukyan (15-2, 2-1 UFC, -650)
Middleweight: Brad Tavares (17-7, 12-6 UFC, -125) versus Antonio Carlos Junior (11-4 1 NC, 7-4 1 NC UFC, +105)
Women’s bantamweight: Julianna Pena (10-4, 5-2 UFC, +110) vs Sara McMann (12-5, 6-5 UFC, -130)
Light Heavyweight: Khalil Rountree Jr. (9-4, 2-2 UFC, -330) against Marcin Prachnio (13-5, 0-3 UFC, +260)