Photo via Jeff Bottari/Getty Images
Death, taxes, and Conor McGregor coming out of retirement are the only things in this life that are guaranteed. And maybe the Browns being the Browns, but that’s a conversation for another day. After announcing his second retirement back in June of 2020, many fans were split on whether or not they actually believed him this time. Remember, he announced his initial retirement in March of 2019, just months after his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov only to come back and fight Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in January of 2020. This time around, though, the task at hand will be much more challenging as he faces former Interim Lightweight Champion, Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier in a rematch from 2014.
Aside from the names being the same, nothing about this fight screams “rematch”. Both men have come a long way in the last six years and are much more evolved and experienced than they were at UFC 178. Since then, McGregor has gone on to hold championship belts in two divisions, collected a post-fight bonus in seven of his last eight fights, launched his own whiskey line, and even cashed in on a multimillion-dollar paycheck by fighting Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring. A superstar in his own right, Poirier has also claimed championship gold, collected a post-fight bonus for six of his last eight fights, founded a charity (The Good Fight Foundation), and collaborated with Heartbeat HotSauce to launch his own blend of hot sauce.
Though they’ve had a different path to being crowned champion, they’ve both earned victories over some big names in the sport. Former champions, rising stars, and experienced gatekeepers all make up the list of fallen fighters that have faced off against these two over the last few years. Both fighters have also suffered a submission loss to pound-for-pound GOAT, Khabib Nurmagomedov, who has now stepped away from fighting and left a glaring vacancy atop the Lightweight mountain. With just under forty stoppage victories between the two of them, most people are anticipating a high energy, action-packed rematch that probably won’t need the judges’ scorecards. There’s surprisingly been minimal trash talk between the two, but McGregor did state that “blood will be spilled but it won’t be bad blood”.
While we know this fight won’t be for the Lightweight championship, it will help clear up the title picture for the division. It hasn’t been confirmed nor denied by Dana White, but we can be sure that the winner will be headed towards a title shot in the coming months. After Charles Oliveira destroyed Tony Ferguson last month, he’s been making his case for a title fight and the winner of this fight could potentially be the next one to face him and crown a new champion in the division.
With a potential shot at gold in their future, as well as a hunger for a rematch against Khabib, the stakes will be high when that cage door closes. Will Conor McGregor make his triumphant return to the UFC’s Lightweight division or will Dustin Poirier exact some revenge and finally get the respect he deserves at the top of the Lightweight rankings? Be sure to tune in on January 23rd and stick to Vegas Sports Daily for future MMA news and updates.