Six years following their first pairing at UFC 178 in September 2014, former interim lightweight champion, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier, and former two-weight world champion, ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor are set to renew their battle for supremacy on January 23rd. at UFC 257.
Slated to take headlining honours, possibly on ‘Fight Island’ – McGregor enters the five-round, non-title bout affair fresh from a forty-second knockout win over former title challenger, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, and with the knowledge of a prior finish of Poirier six years ago.
Taking on the Lafayette native in their respective featherweight runs, Poirier dropped an opening-round knockout defeat, in a highly-emotional outing for the American Top Team mainstay.
Making the immediate leap to 155-pounds, Poirier has found incredible success, notching a further 10-2-(1) Octagon record. Achieving interim title success with a second career win over former featherweight champion, Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway, Poirier scored an incredible six-fight unbeaten run prior to his unification defeat to common-foe, Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov.
In the definite best form of his eleven-year career, the Louisiana native bested four former world champions on the trot; laying waste to Anthony Pettis, Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, and the above-noted, Holloway.
With a newly composed tactical approach as well as a much improved defensive standup game, Poirier recently spoke with MMA Junkie reporter, Mike Bohn – detailing how he plans to “outsmart” McGregor this time around ahead of their January re-run.
“He (Conor McGregor) was obviously a great fighter in finishing a bunch of guys before me in his UFC career, but at this point, we’re both so much more established and have so much more experience, just more mature fighters, and I think you get a completely different fight here,” Poirier said. “I was emotional in the first one, I wanted to hurt the guy. This time I just want to outsmart him, just want to beat him. This is business. This isn’t any ill will towards the guy.“
In a much different and evolved mindset this time around, Poirier touched on his previous emotional approach to fights. Stamping plans for further improvement of his career and his family’s life, Poirier reiterated a business-like approach to the rematch.
“When I was younger, I used to fight with a lot of emotion,” Poirier said. “This isn’t the same thing for me. This isn’t about getting even for me. This isn’t like a revenge type of thing for me. This is about moving my career forward, about putting my family in a better spot. It’s not trying to get back a guy who got me. This is just business.“
Entering the affair off the back of an impressive win of his own, Poirier returned from successful hip surgery at UFC Vegas 4 in June, taking home an exciting unanimous decision win over the then-surging, Dan ‘The Hangman’ Hooker in a main event tilt – his sixth consecutive headlining matchup.