The UFC’s biggest star is back and he’s set to take on No. 2 ranked lightweight Dustin Poirier on January 23. UFC 257 marks the return of No. 4 ranked Conor McGregor, and he’s ready to make a run at the lightweight title.
But first, he needs to take out “The Diamond” in a rematch over six years in the making. The two first competed in 2014 at UFC 178 when both “Notorious” and Poirier fought in the featherweight division. McGregor won the fight via first-round TKO.
Years later, both men have reached massive heights in the promotion, with McGregor winning the lightweight and featherweight titles, and Poirier winning the interim lightweight title.
UFC 257 is set to be a blockbuster event with another lightweight showdown on the main card. No. 6 ranked lightweight Dan Hooker will meet multiple-time Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler in the co-main event.
Many of the UFC’s biggest stars have given their predictions for Poirier vs. McGregor 2. Keep reading to see what some of them had to say:
Jon ‘Bones’ Jones
The former UFC light heavyweight king told Heavy that he doesn’t believe Poirier’s chin will hold up against McGregor.
“I think the same thing is going to happen, maybe even faster this time…,” Jones said via Kelsey McCarson. “I just don’t think he has the chin to stick out 25 minutes with McGregor.”
“No disrespect to Dustin Poirier. Okay, maybe not faster, I know the first one was pretty fast… but Conor McGregor just has ‘it’. He has that ‘it factor’ in business and in his fights. Things come together well for him,” Jones continued.
“You’ve got to be a special, special man to defeat Conor McGregor. At the end of the day, Dustin Poirier has been in a lot of wars. You can have all the skill in the world. I just don’t think he has the chin to stick out 25 minutes with McGregor,” Jones finished.
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Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson
In an interview with Heavy, top-ranked welterweight Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson said he believes McGregor will get it done. Wonderboy said:
I think it’s cool to see Conor come back. I mean, his last fight with Donald Cerrone and he just pieced him up. I know Dustin Poirier has improved tremendously since the last time they have fought, but to be honest with you, so has Conor McGregor. Conor McGregor is a lifelong martial artist as well. So even though he’s not fighting in the Octagon, he’s training. He’s always in the gym, always working hard and trying to improve himself. So I think at this point, Conor McGregor could definitely pull out the win again. With his movement and his striking ability, I think he could definitely pull it off. He could definitely win this fight again, for sure.
Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington
No. 1 ranked Colby Covington used to train with Dustin Poirier at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. However, the two have an immense amount of bad blood, and Covington believes Poirier is going to “get sparked” by McGregor.
In an interview with Submission Radio, Covington said (h/t MMA Junkie): “My best fake friend Dustin Sorrier. All I can say guys, is you guys make sure you got the Kleenex ready at the press conference, because you know Dustin Sorrier is gonna break down on the mic, he’s gonna cry to the world, get everybody to feel sympathy and feel bad for him. He’s gonna get sparked again in the first round, because he’s completely washed up and has no chin anymore and no heart.”
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Michael ‘Maverick’ Chiesa
ESPN analyst and top-ranked welterweight Michael Chiesa told Heavy that the longer the fight goes, the odds that Poirier wins increases. However, if the fight is finished, “Maverick” predicts it will be McGregor swinging the hammer.
“Oh man, what a great fight,” Chiesa said. “What a great rematch. Good matchmaking by the UFC. When I break this fight down, both guys have grown tremendously since the last fight. Poirier’s been the more active guy, Conor had that big fight with [Donald] Cerrone. Conor always adds new tools to his toolbag.”
“I think if the [fight is finished], it goes to Conor. But I think the longer this fight goes, the more it favors Poirier. I believe that if the fight goes the distance, Dustin Poirier will get his hand raised. It’s a tough fight for both guys. May the best man win.
“I know I’m really going to enjoy watching that fight and I’m sure everyone else will, so it’s going to be a good one.”
Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis
Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, who recently signed with the Professional Fighters League, said that the rematch won’t be like their first fight in 2014. In an interview with Helen Yee, “Showtime” said:
“I think that’s a different fight this time. I think that Dustin’s not going to come in as emotional as last time. I think he’ll play it a little smarter. I fought Dustin too, I know his style. Southpaw versus southpaw gives Conor a different look then his usual slap-and-bang with his left. So, I think it’s going to be a different fight.
“[I’m] not sure how it plays out, but I know it’s going to be different than the first one.”
Neil ‘The Haitian Sensation’ Magny
UFC welterweight staple Neil Magny gave his thoughts to Heavy on Poirier vs. McGregor 2. He said the fight is a toss-up and he pointed out the activity difference between both fighters.
“I’m going to sit back and enjoy this as a fan,” Magny said. “There’s so many different factors going into that fight that it makes it to be super unpredictable. One of the biggest things that people talk about is how inactive Conor has been compared to Dustin, but all the wars that Dustin has been in over the last two to three years… Conor hasn’t been very active. You have to wonder if those wars have taken a toll on his mind and body. For me, it’s a toss-up. Either guy can win.”
Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje
No. 1 ranked lightweight and former UFC interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje weighed in on the fight when speaking with Helen Yee.
“I don’t know,” Gaethje told the reporter. “This is two really high-level fighters. Conor’s really good. I do see him probably winning. I don’t know, it’ll be interesting to see if Dustin rises to the occasion.”