When Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier fought each other for the first time in 2014, both the featherweights were still looking to establish themselves as potential title contenders. While it took less than a year for McGregor to do that, Poirier somehow worked his way up and competed in a title match five years later.
Since their first fight, both McGregor and Poirier have polished their careers, and experienced what it feels like to have a golden belt dangle around their waist.
Although the first encounter between The Notorious and The Diamond wasn't an equally-contested battle since McGregor knocked Poirier out in the first round, the second fight is likely to be largely different, and here are the five reasons why McGregor vs. Poirier II will have a lot more to offer.
#1 Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier have improved exponentially
Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier have drastically improved their skill-set since their first bout. The Irishman competed against some of the best fighters in the UFC and became the promotion's first-ever two-division champion, holding both the featherweight and lightweight championships at the same time.
Dustin Poirier, on the other hand, learned a lot of things from his devastating loss to McGregor and won 10 matches in the UFC since then, while coming up short in two, opposite Michael Johnson and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Having mastered his striking prowess, McGregor is considered as one of the greatest strikers in the UFC. Meanwhile, Poirier - quite evident from his performances against the likes of Eddie Alvarez, Max Holloway, Justin Gaethje - was able to recognize the chink in his armor, and skyrocketed his way to the top of the lightweight division.
Since both the fighters have perfected their skill-sets, we can expect a much more competitive fight this time around.
#2 Dustin Poirier will look to extract revenge of his loss to Conor McGregor
Although Dustin Poirier has made it clear that he's not thinking too much about avenging his previous loss to Conor McGregor, we can fairly assume that the idea of getting revenge may serve as a motivational factor to Poirier.
Moreover, The Diamond has admitted that his loss to McGregor changed him as a fighter, and that was the biggest turning point of his career. Poirier revealed that he has become mentally stronger after his loss to McGregor, and attributed that to being a father.
With Poirier at the peak of his career, it shouldn't come as a surprise if the 31-year-old fighter gives McGregor a rough night at the office, considering how much he has improved himself as a fighter.
#3 The title implications will push both the fighters
Both Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier put on impressive performance in their last fights, against Donald Cerrone and Dan Hooker respectively. They are ranked numbers two and five on the lightweight division rankings, and either of the fighters could go on to compete for the title in his next outing.
With Justin Gaethje coming off a loss, it is likely that the former interim lightweight champion may have to register a win before once again laying a claim on the belt, which leaves Charles Oliveira and the winner of McGregor vs. Poirier in a potential title clash if Khabib Nurmagomedov decides not to come back.
McGregor and Poirier are aware of how instrumental this fight is, which will most certainly shape the future of the lightweight division. The Notorious and The Diamond would leave no stone unturned, and could go for a five-round war considering the consequences of this fight.
#4 McGregor and Poirier are in their best shape
Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier fought as featherweights in 2014. Since then, both the fighters have made it visibly clear that they are natural lightweights.
Both McGregor and Poirier are in incredible shape, which suggests that their ability to endure damage and maintain enough gas for a full fight has massively increased. After his loss to the Irishman, Poirier has only been knocked out once in the last six years and his punches are far better than before.
#5 Poirier has gained more fighting experience than McGregor
After his loss to Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier has competed in 13 UFC fights, compared to McGregor's eight. The Diamond has gained enough fighting experience against some of the best in the UFC, which will help him to deliver a far more competitive performance against McGregor than he did in their first fight.
Quite apparent from his last fight against Dan Hooker, Poirier has also enhanced his grappling skills which may come into play when he shares the octagon with McGregor on January 23.
Both the fighters will certainly be diligent to earn a victory which clearly suggests that the rematch is going to last for more than just one round.Published 18 Dec 2020, 04:48 IST