Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier: The Story So Far

Conor McGregor

Former dual weight champion Conor McGregor and one-time interim titleholder Dustin Poirier are set to throw down at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi on January 23.

This will not be the first time these two fighters have met. McGregor and Poirier previously faced off at UFC 178 in 2014. All these years later the pair will collide again, but will it be a repeat or revenge?

The First Fight

In September 2014, Conor McGregor was just a loud-mouthed prospect with three UFC wins to his name.

His next opponent, Dustin Poirier, was a 10-fight UFC veteran who many believed would be McGregor’s toughest fight ever and one he could well lose.

On the night things went smoothly for McGregor who was able to hit, hurt and finish Poirier inside one round.

During the six years since this bout McGregor has gone on to win UFC belts at featherweight and lightweight. ‘Notorious’ has shot to superstardom and even crossed over into boxing for a mega-money match-up with Floyd Mayweather.

Poirier, on the other hand, has had a slow climb back to the top. ‘The Diamond’ jumped up to lightweight following his defeat to McGregor and eventually became the interim champion.

Despite taking completely different career paths McGregor and Poirier are set to meet again at UFC 257. So, how did we get to this point? Let’s take a look at the story so far ahead of UFC 257 and McGregor vs. Poirier II.


Infographic created by Betway.

Conor McGregor’s Featherweight Title Tilt

The first round KO win over Poirier propelled McGregor into title contention. The Irishman needed just one more fight – a second-round KO of Dennis Siver – to secure a shot at UFC gold.

McGregor vs. Mendes | UFC 189 | 11 July 2015

McGregor was set to face long-time featherweight champion Jose Aldo at International Fight Week. However, the Brazilian suffered a rib fracture and was replaced by top contender Chad Mendes for the interim title.

Despite the disappointment, McGregor and Mendes enjoyed some lively back and forth during the build-up to their bout.

On the night, Mendes threatened to cause an upset by securing several takedowns which allowed him to unleash some brutal ground-and-pound which cut McGregor.

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The 33-year-old survived a guillotine attempt, popped back to his feet and somehow finished Mendes with seconds remaining in the second round.

‘Notorious’ had truly arrived.

Aldo v McGregor | UFC 194 | 12 December 2015

The UFC quickly rebooked McGregor’s fight with Aldo, who, at the time, was one of best pound-for-pound fighters in MMA. ‘Scarface’ boasted 18 straight wins and was the only featherweight champion in UFC history, defending his belt seven times before meeting McGregor.

After a fiery build-up the fight was truly spectacular. No one – apart from the Irishman – could ever have predicted what came next.

McGregor read a left hook from Aldo and slept the champ with a single punch. Thirteen seconds was all it took – the fastest finish ever in a UFC title fight, and a record that is unlikely to be beaten.

McGregor Becomes First UFC Dual Weight Champion

After going to war with Nate Diaz twice in welterweight bouts McGregor got his long-awaited shot at the UFC lightweight title against Eddie Alvarez.

The Irishman put on a masterpiece to claim the title and make UFC history in the process. McGregor dropped Alvarez several times during the two-round bout before eventually forcing the stoppage.

McGregor became world famous off the back of this bout, so famous he was dragged away from MMA and wouldn’t compete in the sport for two years.

The Money Fight

By this point McGregor was one of the biggest stars in world sport – he’d won UFC titles at two weights and tempted the greatest boxer ever out of retirement for a nine-figure fight.

Mayweather v McGregor was one of the biggest pay-per-views of all time. Despite suffering a tenth round TKO loss, McGregor was pushed to another level of stardom.

Things started to go downhill for McGregor at this point. He had already been stripped of the featherweight belt for inactivity. McGregor also had his lightweight title taken in the months following his detour into boxing.

Dustin Poirier’s Lightweight Run

While McGregor was busy fighting for titles and making millions, Poirier was grinding his way back up the ranks.

Following his lightweight move ‘The Diamond’ picked up four straight wins before suffering a shock knockout loss to Michael Johnson. That loss didn’t deter him though and Poirier continued to advance through the division adopting an exciting fight style that made him a fan favourite.

Poirier v Pettis | UFC Fight Night | 11 November 2017

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That reputation was only enhanced when he submitted former lightweight champ Anthony Pettis to cement his place in the top five in the division.

Beating Pettis saw Poirier shoot up to No. 5 at lightweight – the first time he had cracked the top five of a division since his loss to McGregor.

Poirier v Gaethje | UFC on Fox | 14 April 2018

The big fights continued to flow for Poirier, who next faced Justin Gaethje – one of the toughest fighters in the UFC. Both men went toe-to-toe in a Fight of the Year contender.

Gaethje was able to do serious damage with his patented leg kicks throughout the fight but ultimately succumbed to Poirier who closed the show with a trademark flurry of crisp, accurate punches.

Poirier v Alvarez II | UFC on Fox | 28 July 2018

A few months later Poirier was in another big fight, this time against former champion Eddie Alvarez. The pair first fought at UFC 211 in 2017 but that fight ended in controversial fashion when Alvarez landed several illegal knees.

Poirier emphatically ended the rivalry when he rematched Alvarez in Calgary. At the end of a second round in which Alvarez had dominated on the ground, Poirier got to his feet and once again turned the tables with powerful strikes to finish the fight.

‘The Diamond’ was officially a legitimate UFC title contender.

Holloway v Poirier | UFC 236 | 13 April 2019

Poirier finally got his shot at UFC gold in 2019. ‘The Diamond’ faced off against featherweight champion Max Holloway at UFC 236 for the interim lightweight championship.

Holloway was a considerable favourite heading into the fight, but Poirier was able to cause an upset. He showcased his power early and was able to hurt Holloway on several occasions in the early rounds.

‘Blessed’ survived the onslaught and began to work his way back into the bout but ultimately fell short. Poirier picked up a unanimous decision win in one of the best performances of his career to secure the title.

After 22 fights over eight long years, ‘The Diamond’ finally had his hands on UFC gold.

The Russian Problem

McGregor and Poirier have several opponents in common but the only man to beat both of them is the current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The Russian is currently contemplating retirement after the death of his father in 2020. It remains to be seen if he will remain a problem for the winner of the UFC 257 main event.

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Nurmagomedov v McGregor | UFC 229 | 6 October 2018

After nearly two years away from the sport, McGregor was granted an immediate title shot against Khabib Nurmagomedov who had established himself as a the best lightweight on the planet during that time.

Nurmagomedov and McGregor shared the most heated rivalry in UFC history and the build-up to UFC 229 was filled with venom and hatred.

The Russian was and remains undefeated. At the time he had amassed 26 straight wins. Many believed this was a step too far for ‘Notorious’ – particularly considering his time away from the sport – and they were proved very much correct as Nurmagomedov dominated and eventually sunk in a neck crank to force the tap.

The fight will live on in UFC infamy due to the post fight antics of Nurmagomedov, McGregor and their respective teams who brawled inside and outside the UFC Octagon. Both men faced lengthy suspensions for their role in the brawl which marred the biggest UFC pay-per-view of all time.

Nurmagomedov v Poirier | UFC 242 | 7 September 2019

Nurmagomedov severed his ban and returned to unify the division against the newly crowned interim champion Dustin Poirier.

‘The Diamond’ was a huge underdog heading into the bout and despite having brief moments of success was easily dealt with by Nurmagomedov who sunk in a rear-naked choke in round three.

The Comeback(s)

McGregor and Poirier were forced to rebuild in 2020 after both falling short against Nurmagomedov.

The Irishman got his first win since 2016 when he fought MMA veteran at Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 in January 2020. McGregor needed just 40 seconds to despatch of the usually tough ‘Cowboy’ who he ended with a flurry of strikes.

Poirier got himself back in the win column against top lightweight contender Dan Hooker. The pair went back-and-forth in an all-out war for five rounds at UFC Vegas 4. Poirier picked up the unanimous decision win in what proved to be one of the best fights 2020 had to offer.

Another year on the side-lines and McGregor is back. This time against Poirier who is a totally different fighter to the one he faced in 2014. Everything points towards an absolute classic in this match-up between two of the best strikers in MMA.

Who do you think will win at UFC 257? Conor McGregor or Dustin Poirier?