There is seemingly never a dull moment in UFC’s Lightweight division. A third bout to complete a trilogy of encounters between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier was briefly thrown into doubt by “The Notorious” himself.
The rubber fight of this on-and-off feud is scheduled for UFC 264 in Las Vegas on the night of July 10. A summer sizzler and definite pay-per-view draw, but the course of MMA promotions never does run smooth.
UFC president Dana White is currently without a Lightweight champion. The unbeaten Khabib Nurmagomedov made good on his decision to retire following the death of his father, leaving Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler to battle it out for the vacant title at UFC 262 this May.
In the midst of a Twitter exchange laced with expletives, McGegor told Poirier: “the fight is off btw. I’m going to fight someone else”. Is was all just mind games, though, as the third encounter between them was confirmed. If you don’t know by now, then it’s always worth taking what “The Notorious” says with a pinch of salt.
Nobody turns the build-up to MMA fights into a pantomime better than McGregor. The Irishman has always been happy enough to be surrounded by controversy throughout his career, with mass brawls and other unseemly antics features of his UFC career.
He has certainly earned his nickname of “The Notorious”, but his recent MMA record makes for reading he won’t like. McGregor has only won one of his three fights since first stepping away from UFC at the end of 2016.
After stopping Poirier inside a round in their first meeting at UFC 178 back in 2014, MMA experts and tipsters like Jeff Fox confidently predicted another McGregor win in their January 2021 rematch. However, “The Diamond” had different ideas.
Poirier avenged the defeat six-and-a-half years on, stopping McGegor inside a couple of rounds at UFC 257. With one win apiece from their past bouts, the market on a third fight can hardly split them with the bookies understandably cautious in how they have priced it up.
Both McGregor and Poirier were no match for Khabib. The interim UFC rankings for the Lightweight division have the latter at the top of the ladder, though, with title bout duo Oliveira and Chandler rated third and fourth best behind Justin Gaethje.
McGregor occupies the relatively lowly position of sixth. The only way to climb back up for that spot is to beat Poirier, and have the last word in that trilogy. His social media claim was all smoke and mirrors as, a couple of days later, he was promoting the fight he claimed was off.
Poirier knows all about the circus surrounding McGregor. We are in a period where the spotlight is shining on the Lightweight division pretty intensely. MMA fans so much to look forward to in the coming months, first with the crowning of a new champion and then for the rubber match. Whoever comes out on top will certainly put themselves in line for a title shot.