Poirier vs McGregor 2 – 5 Things We Can Expect to Change

The UFC kicks off their 2021 PPV season in style with the hotly anticipated Dustin Poirier vs McGregor rematch, coming over six years after their first meeting in the octagon. It’s a lifetime in the world of mixed martial arts: both men have had enough brutal battles since to get frequent flyer miles to hell and back. And each comes into Poirier vs McGregor 2 with something to prove.

The former naturally wishes to avenge one of the most crushing losses of his career. Meanwhile, McGregor needs to shake off any claims of rust and silence the doubters who have picked holes in his quality since that crushing defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov. Most importantly, this will be vital in establishing McGregor once again as the elite of the lightweight division.

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First fight recap

Ironically, it’s that there’s so little to tell about their first encounter which makes the rematch so interesting. McGregor was, at this point, a rising superstar in the UFC – a hype train that seemingly could not be stopped, and one which ran right through Poirier in one minute and 46 seconds.

Dustin Poirier vs McGregor the first time round was a one-sided affair, with Poirier barely seeming to work out a game plan before being taken out of the fight. Despite the short runtime, it had a huge impact on the career of both men. It set McGregor firmly on the path to the featherweight championship, while Poirier has called the fight a “turning point” in both his life and career. A lot can change in under two minutes.

What will change?

It won’t end in first-round stoppage

We don’t think it will end in the first round. Despite McGregor predicting he will “knock Dustin out inside 60 seconds” – and even after achieving an astounding 40-second win over Donald Cerrone last January – the truth is the Poirier has vastly improved as a fighter since their first encounter.

Dustin has a tendency to win in long matches, where his insane cardio can see him steadily gain an advantage. He defeated both the likes of Dan Hooker and Max Holloway in the fifth round.

Essentially, we have one guy who wants the early knockout and another who seems to only get stronger with every tick of the clock. The skill of both could see a kind of brutal compromise here, meaning a possible result somewhere around the late second or third round.

Poirier will showcase his skills

Despite how influential the first fight was on the careers of both men, it sounds like it was a net positive for Poirier, even if he hurt his pride just as much as his face. We never got to see what Dustin could do against McGregor.

We think that will change here, especially with regards to the grappling skills he has spent the last few years improving. Indeed, despite the Irishman being the bookies’ favourite, if he doesn’t respect Dustin’s ability in that department, then Conor could end up reliving a similar fate to the end of the Khabib fight.

Neither man will come out unscathed

Although grandiose claims are usually the bread and butter of the famously confrontational McGregor camp, it’s “the Diamond” who has laid down the gauntlet here. Poirier has said he wants both fighters to be dripping with blood at the end of the first minute.

Conor is the kind of man to do everything he can to be accommodating to such requests, meaning we think this time, both men will walk out of Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor 2 – in defeat or victory – feeling significantly worse for wear.

We’ll see new talents from McGregor

One of the most interesting comments from McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh, which appears to have been overlooked by pundits – don’t worry lads and lasses, we’ve got you covered – is that we’ll be seeing new skills, “new weapons” coming out in this fight.

You could certainly see an already emerging evolution of fight style in the Cerrone match, so we’re expecting to see more fully realised additions to his arsenal at Poirier vs McGregor 2.

It will be so entertaining, it’ll bring back Khabib

We think that Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor 2 has everything it needs to be a classic. That’s certainly a change from the historic if one-note first encounter. It has importance, build and two world-class athletes with the drive to turn up firing on all cylinders.

Part of the ambition which fuels this electric contest is that Khabib Nurmagomedov – the lightweight juggernaut who has dominated and defeated both competitors – has said he will only return if they “do something special”. We think this fight will be so good, that they’ll achieve his return, and earn their title rematch against the division’s ultimate, no pun intended, challenge.

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