Stats That Favor ‘Underdog’ vs. Conor McGregor

Dana White left, Conor McGregor right

Getty

Statistics never tell the whole story, but there are some ways in which UFC lightweight contender Dustin Poirier compares favorably to Conor McGregor heading into UFC 257.

Poirier lost to McGregor by first-round stoppage back in 2014 in a featherweight bout, but the American has become a considerably better fighter since that date.

Poirier’s latest posts on social media show how “The Diamond” is viewing his second chance at beating McGregor at UFC 257 on January 23.

Poirier posted, “Have no fear, underdog is here!”

The fighter also retweeted the UFC’s recent post about him trying to add another “former champ” to his growing list of impressive victories.

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Can Poirier Pull off Upset?

Poirier has some important things going for him heading into the rematch later this month.

First, Poirier is ranked higher than McGregor in the UFC’s official lightweight rankings. Poirier is ranked No. 2, and McGregor is slotted at No. 4.

According to UFC Stats, many of Poirier’s overall numbers in key statistical categories also compare quite favorably to McGregor.

Both southpaws are the same height (5’9″), but Poirier lands more strikes per minute than McGregor, 5.57 to 5.43.

Moreover, Poirier absorbs fewer strikes per minute in return from his opponents, 4.18 to 4.40.

Poirer also has a little better defense on his feet than the Irish superstar, 55% to 54%.

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More Stats Favoring Poirier

On the ground, Poirier beats McGregor in both the number of takedowns he averages per 15 minutes, 1.46 to 0.75, as well as the number of submissions he attempts over that same timeframe, 1.3 to 0.

If you’re looking for even more reasons to believe the American is on his way to pulling the huge upset over McGregor, consider that Poirier would seemingly have more ways to win the fight than the ex-“champ champ” does.

While both fighters rely heavily on their impressive striking skills, Poirier has won 12 fights by knockout, 7 by submission, and 7 by decision. That’s a sold split among different methods and something that indicates he’s a complete MMA fighter.

Meanwhile, McGregor has only scored one win by submission and that came well before his time in the UFC.

Finally, when taking a deep dive into this fight for Bleacher Reports’ Head-To-Toe Breakdown, it struck me that when splitting the categories into three major parts: striking, grappling, and submissions, Poirier has the edge in two of the three total categories.

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McGregor’s Power Could Be Main Difference

Of course, not all the stats favor Poirier.

McGregor is a little more accurate at striking 50% to 49%, and the Irishman enjoys a better takedown defense, 70% to 60%, and higher takedown accuracy, 62% to 35%.

The biggest difference in his favor, at least statistically speaking, is probably McGregor’s knockout power.

Of McGregor’s 22 total wins, 19 of them, or 86%, were knockouts or stoppages.

Poirier’s stoppages account for around 46% of his 26 wins.

Both have power, but McGregor is as dangerous as they come in the sport when it comes to one-punch power.


UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2

Poirier’s world-class credentials make him a live underdog against McGregor at UFC 257.

Since the two fought over six years ago, both have reached impressive heights in the sport.

McGregor’s exploits as MMA’s most popular star and first-ever UFC “champ champ” are already well-documented and quite celebrated.

But Poirier’s excellent run in the sport, one that saw him become one of the most complete 155-pound fighters in the world today, shouldn’t be dismissed.

UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 is a compelling matchup between two of the world’s best lightweights. The American will head into the Octagon the underdog in the fight, but several key data points suggest he might actually win the fight.

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Twitter: @Kelsey_McCarson

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