The UFC has made the full first fight between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier available on their YouTube channel. The rematch between the two lightweight contenders will occur on January 23, in Abu Dhabi.
The first time they met in the octagon, six years ago, McGregor was an ascending star on his way to glory while Poirier was already well established within the promotion. 'The Diamond' had the most wins and most finishes in the UFC featherweight history.
However, after the fight started, it was McGregor who would look like a veteran. Completely loose, the Irishman slid through the octagon with very athletic kicks and punches. As much as Poirier tried, he could not connect his fighting style towards Conor McGregor.
The two fighters went into an intensive development of their skills and abilities since their first bout in UFC 178. Many think that McGregor and Poirier are at the pinnacle of their careers ahead of their rematch in UFC 257.
Since that bout, Conor McGregor would become the first UFC champion to hold two different belts simultaneously - featherweight and lightweight. 'The Notorious' also turned himself into the UFC's most lucrative fighter. McGregor transcended MMA and became a star for combat sports in general, making a cross-style match with boxing legend Floyd Mayweather.
As for Poirier, he returned to the UFC lightweight division following his defeat to McGregor, where he escalated through the weight class' rankings until capturing the interim lightweight belt and receiving a title shot, in which Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated him.
The expectation on the UFC lightweight championship's future grows ahead of their rematch, with many - including the retired titleholder - talking about how the main event in UFC 257 will define the next champion.
Khabib Nurmagomedov says the next UFC lightweight champion should come from Conor McGregor versus Dustin Poirier bout
In an interview with Match TV in Russia, the retired UFC lightweight champion talked about what he believes is the future of the belt he appears to have left vacant.
Khabib Nurmagomedov thinks that the UFC should use their main event in UFC 257 between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier as the decider for throning the next lightweight champion.
"The winner of Conor McGregor versus Dustin Poirier bout should fight for the belt, but I don't know who their opponent will be."
In the same interview, Nurmagomedov reaffirmed he has no intentions of returning to the octagon. Without him, the UFC is studying new possibilities to crown the next titleholder of the division.
Besides Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, names like Charles Oliveira, Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje, and Islam Makhachev are also possible top contenders.
Until then, the future of the UFC lightweight division remains unclear. Who would you like to see stepping in as the new champion? Sound off in the comments.