Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier will go head-to-head in the main event of UFC 257 this weekend as the fighters meet in a rematch nearly seven years in the making.
It’s been an odd year for McGregor, who has not competed in 12 months since he took apart Donald Cerrone in only 40 seconds.
McGregor and Dana White held frustrating talks thereafter, with the coronavirus pandemic affecting the Irishman’s compensation, leading to another apparent retirement.
Khabib Nurmagomedov is seemingly off the radar for now, having retired following his victory over Justin Gaethje in October and the passing of his father.
And without the unbeaten Russian, the lightweight division is now wide open: Gaethje remains the No 1 contender, with Poirier second, Charles Oliveira third and McGregor fourth.
FOLLOW LIVE: Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier weigh-ins
Former Bellator champion and UFC newcomer Michael Chandler has also added intrigue to the division and will take on Dan Hooker in the co-main event at UFC 257.
But the fight with the biggest impact at 155lbs is set to be McGregor vs Poirier, which is taking place six years after the Irishman knocked out ‘The Diamond’ in the first round of their clash at featherweight.
Here is everything you need to know about the seismic bout.
When and where is the fight?
The fight is on 23 January on top of the bill at UFC 257. It will take place on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. White has confirmed that approximately 2,000 fans will be able to attend the card at the Etihad Arena.The main card is expected to begin at 3am GMT (Sunday morning), with the prelims before that starting at 1am GMT. The early prelims will get under way at 11.15pm GMT on Saturday night.
What TV channel is it on and how can I watch?
UK fans can watch the main card on BT Sport Box Office HD, as well as the broadcaster’s site and app, for a fee of £19.95.
The prelims will air to BT Sport subscribers for free.
In the US, the main card will air on ESPN+, which – along with ESPN – will show the prelims. Both channels will also air the early prelims, as will UFC’s Fight Pass.
Who will win?
Alex Pattle: Poirier is a more durable fighter at lightweight than he was at featherweight – the weight at which the pair last fought. He is also a sharper boxer, but for all the talk of Poirier’s improvements, McGregor’s own advancements should not be overlooked – despite the Irishman’s relative inactivity in the ring in recent years, he has been training non-stop. At first I found this one pretty hard to call, but as the bout has edged near, my mind has settled on Poirier lasting longer than one minute and 46 seconds this time, but not too much longer, unfortunately. McGregor via second-round TKO.
Adam Hamdani: This one really could be the war that both men are promising it to be, but Poirier seems to be hoping that a McGregor mistake is what will gift him the chance to finish the fight, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the Irishman look so in the zone as he is now. I can’t see any errors from him here. McGregor’s timing, size and power should give him the win by knockout inside three. This fight promises to be more competitive than against Cerrone, and an impressive stoppage could reignite the flame in Khabib for what would be the biggest event in UFC history. McGregor via KO within three rounds.
What is the full card?
Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier (lightweight)
Dan Hooker vs Michael Chandler (lightweight)
Jessica Eye vs Joanne Calderwood (women’s flyweight)
Matt Frevola vs Arman Tsarukyan (catchweight)
Marina Rodriguez vs Amanda Ribas (women’s strawweight)
Brad Tavares vs Antonio Carlos Jr (middleweight)
Julianna Pena vs Sara McCann (women’s bantamweight)
Khalil Rountree Jr vs Marcin Prachnio (light heavyweight)
Andrew Sanchez vs Makhmud Muradov (middleweight)
Nik Lentz Movsar Evloev (catchweight)
Amir Albazi vs Zhalgas Zhumagulov (flyweight)
McGregor by knockout: 4/5
McGregor by submission: 33/1
McGregor on points: 13/2
Poirier by knockout: 7/2
Poirier by submission: 10/1
Poirier on points: 6/1