Conor McGregor returns to the Octagon on January 23 when he takes on Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi, but what do we actually know about McGregor's opponent?
McGregor v Poirier Preview: Who Is Dustin Poirier?
Let’s get this out there right away, Dustin Poirier is no mug and is definitely not just a hand-picked opponent just out there to make Conor McGregor look good.
Poirier is currently ranked number two in the lightweight division, while McGregor is fourth, and he is a former Interim Lightweight Championship holder after he beat Max Holloway back in April 2019.
The 31-year-old from Lafayette, Louisiana turned professional back in 2009 and made a name for himself after winning his first seven bouts in regional events across Southern United States of America. His first defeat came in his World Extreme Cagefighting debut when he lost to Danny Castillo.
Poirier fought once more under the WEC banner before the company merged with the UFC in October 2010. Poirier has been with the organisation ever since and has managed to pick up victories against the likes of Max Holloway twice, Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez and Dan Hooker.
McGregor v Poirier Preview: How Good Is Poirier?
Dustin Poirier is a good fighter, and despite losing six of his 33 professional fights he is capable of taking McGregor into deep waters.
These two have fought before back in September 2014, when McGregor dispatched of the American inside the opening round with a flurry of strikes. This was the first time Poirier had been beaten by punches alone.
It is safe to say that Poirier has improved since he last faced McGregor, and he has already admitted that the Irishman got into his head before they stepped foot in the Octagon.
Poirier is no stranger to being awarded fight of the night or performance of the night – winning those accolades nine times altogether.
In 2019, Poirier won the Interim UFC Lightweight Championship after claiming a unanimous decision victory over Max Holloway. That win saw him go straight into a title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov, when he succumbed to a rear-naked choke submission move in the third round.
He could have sulked and gone into his shell, but that is not how Poirier operates. He was soon back in the Octagon and recorded a unanimous points decision triumph over Dan Hooker, which now leads to this bout with the man everyone wants to see.
McGregor v Poirier Preview: Can Poirier Beat McGregor?
I like Poirier, I think he is a great fighter and believe he has many more huge matches under his belt. But at the moment, UFC is Conor McGregor’s world, and we are all just living in it.
Having seen plenty of social media posts, McGregor looks in amazing shape – possibly the best of his career – and I cannot see Poirier stopping him or even take him the decision.
Every fighter has a chance of victory, no matter who you are. I cannot see this being stopped in the first round, but in the end, McGregor will do enough to wear down Poirier and get his hand raised before the judges have to get involved.