Conor McGregor is retired, except that it probably won’t be for long. And Dustin Poirier, aka the winner of the last UFC Fight Night card in Las Vegas before the company picks up its bags and heads over to its Fight Island location in Abu Dhabi for the entirety of July, would seem to fit nicely into the opponent slot for McGregor’s next fight whenever the Irishman does decide to unretire later this year.
Oh sure, McGregor has other solid options, but nobody fits the bill quite as well as Poirier after the American’s stunning performance over Dan Hooker at UFC Fight Night on Saturday night.
Poirier won the Fight of the Year candidate via unanimous decision. The 31-year-old has now won six of his last seven fights (and against some stalwart competition) to prove he’s the cream of the 155-pound crop.
McGregor defeated Poirier via first-round stoppage six years ago at UFC 178, but both fighters have changed so much by now.
McGregor’s UFC Career Remains Incomplete
McGregor didn’t retire last month because he felt like his career was complete. The 31-year-old called it quits because he wasn’t getting his way.
McGregor has long desired a rematch against UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. He’s done just about everything he could to suggest that his submission loss to Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in 2018 was less about what the undefeated champion did right that night and more about what McGregor did wrong.
Specifically, McGregor claims to have imbibed too much alcohol during training camp and said he didn’t have the right mindset for arguably the biggest UFC fight of his career.
So McGregor badly wanted another crack at Nurmagomedov to prove his point.
But after Justin Gaethje shocked the world by scoring his upset win over Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 last month McGregor lost footing in the race to face Nurmagomedov.
Because handing Ferguson his first loss in 12 fights and nabbing the UFC’s interim gold at 155 pounds essentially gave Gaethje an epic choice to make.
Did the upstart want a shot at becoming undisputed lightweight champ or did he want to fight the biggest name in the sport for the most amount of money possible?
Gaethje chose the title shot, so McGregor retired in a huff.
McGregor’s Retirement Doesn’t Seem Real Because It Probably Isn’t
But everyone knows he’ll be back. Heck, even McGregor seemed to be just going through the motions with his latest retirement announcement.
How else could it go?
You know it’s not real. I know it’s not real. McGregor knows its not real. That’s sort of what happens when a fighter retires in his physical prime for the third time in just four years.
Nobody thinks its real.
But now McGregor has a legit opponent for his next fight, a real one that would be an important step toward getting McGregor the title shot he so badly covets.
Follow the Heavy on UFC Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
McGregor vs. Poirier Rematch Would Create New Top Contender
Earlier this week, Poirier told TMZ Sports that the payoff for a McGregor fight would be nice but that he was more interested in fighting again for the UFC lightweight championship.
“I mean, I’d love to for the financial part of it, but I’m not chasing grudge matches at this point in my life,” Poirier said.
Poirier went on to say he’d rather fight Tony Ferguson next because he thought it might get him “closer to the title.”
But facing McGregor would work just as well at that.
Heck, beating McGregor would probably look better on his resume at this point than beating Ferguson anyway, and getting paid handsomely to do it would make things even better for “The Diamond”.
Plus, fighters don’t call potential bouts “grudge matches” unless there’s a score to settle. Poirier clearly wants another crack at McGregor, and he’s got a decent case to believe he’ll have better luck this time around.
Beating the likes of Hooker, Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez and Max Holloway in recent fights should give him a massive amount of confidence heading into a second McGregor fight.
But here’s the biggest thing. Whoever wins the upcoming Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje fight for 155-pound supremacy will need an opponent for his next fight.
The newly crowned undisputed UFC lightweight champ will need a new No. 1 contender to fend off, preferably one with a big name in the sport.
McGregor vs. Poirier 2 produces exactly that, so that’s the fight that should be on both men’s radar.
YouTube: Real Talk with Kelsey and Rachel