We’re not surprised! Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor meet for the trilogy as the main event for UFC 264 on July 10 in front of a sold-out T-Mobile Arena. Tickets were gone in a flash for this anticipated clash.
As if this fight couldn’t be bigger, each added extra sauce with their recent string of back-and-forths across social media seemingly reinvigorating the ire they held in 2014.
It’s official: The Poirier-McGregor trilogy is set for July 10. 👊
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) April 14, 2021
The sportsbook already has the UFC betting odds and it’s a flat pick’em as both Poirier and McGregor hold a knockout win over the other. No belt is on the line, but this will be the biggest MMA fight of the year as records will be set, box offices will be enriched, and history will be re-written.
- Date: Saturday, July 10, 10 p.m. ET
- Venue: T-Mobile Arena – Paradise, NV, United States
- Watch on: Pay-per-view
Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor
Weight Class: Lightweight (155)
Odds: Dustin Poirier -115, Conor McGregor -115
It was a tale of two fights for these two. The first over seven years ago saw McGregor knock Poirier out in under two minutes at featherweight. McGregor controlled the hot-headed Poirier with his infamous pre-fight trash talk.
In the rematch earlier this year, both men couldn’t have been more different. Poirier and McGregor weren’t just civil, they were chummy with each other. Poirier then exacted revenge when he weathered McGregor’s initial storm and handed him his first KO loss as an MMA fighter.
Heading to this trilogy, it’s a question of which fighter can assert their gameplan.
Poirier: Stay Hard Like a Diamond
Poirier has developed a reputation as the UFC’s most exciting fighter. That’s both a good and bad thing as it means he isn’t just dishing out damage, but taking it too.
Looking at McGregor’s losses, the only two strikers — three, if we count Floyd Mayweather Jr. — to beat him, did so by having to endure his attacks and then exploit him when weakens. The Irishman is, and has always been, a fast starter and banks on his knockout power.
Poirier took a few good ones but stayed on his feet. He’s been knocked out brutally in two of his fights and that was when he lost his cool and got too aggressive. “The Diamond” has lived up to his moniker by being more patient and defensive-minded.
Sure, Poirier will still take a punch or two. But he’s faced McGregor twice and knows his style. Poirier can keep his usual game plan: chop away at McGregor’s legs and mix in some clinch work and grappling and he’ll find his opening when McGregor starts to fade.
McGregor: Evolve Change
How much can McGregor still change? That will be the main question for these next three months. There are books out on how McGregor fights, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if fighters like Poirier are able to see through his “tricks.”
McGregor is virtually the same fighter he was when he was the UFC’s first two-division champion. The game has changed a lot. Poirier has racked up seven wins over top-tier opponents, while McGregor’s sole victory came in a one-minute thrashing of a battle-worn Donald Cerrone.
“Mystic Mac” couldn’t see Poirier kicking down his legs, a fast-rising trend in MMA thanks to how effective it is. Checking Poirier’s kicks will be one thing, but fending off his wrestling attack will be another.
McGregor may have to start training at other gyms to expand his horizons. He keeps saying he’s “on the correct path to evolution”. The loss to Diaz pushed him to alter his strategy a bit and he narrowly won the rematch. He can do the same here.
The UFC betting odds have this lined evenly after Poirier took money at the sportsbook and came down from being a slight underdog. The wrong fighter was favored, and Poirier should be the chalk. He’s been on a different level than McGregor and, barring getting KO’d in the first, he should once again outlast his nemesis.
Wars have become a specialty for Poirier who went through it against former champions like Anthony Pettis, Max Holloway, and Justin Gaethje. McGregor’s only been to war with Nate Diaz unless that four-round mauling by Khabib Nurmagomedov counts.
Poirier is No. 2 in our monthly power rankings for a reason. Belt or no belt, “The Diamond” is the man at 155, and he’ll prove it once again come July 10th. Put your bet in now while Poirier is still an even-money choice!