Ahead of Saturday’s UFC 264 pay-per-view, we take a closer look at both the competitors in the main event. In the article below, we will discuss one half of the trilogy fight in the form of Conor “Notorious” McGregor.
Conor McGregor (+110)
McGregor (22-5) is the No. 5 ranked contender in the UFC lightweight division and the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion. The 32-year-old Irishman has been a professional MMA fighter since 2008 and he has been a member of the UFC roster since 2013. In the UFC, McGregor is 10-3 overall with wins over Donald Cerrone, Eddie Alvarez, Nate Diaz, Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes, Dennis Siver, Dustin Poirier, Diego Brandao, Max Holloway, and Marcus Brimage, and his only UFC losses to Khabib Nurmagomedov and the aforementioned Poirier and Diaz.
A knockout artist by the very definition of it, McGregor has won 19 of his 22 career victories by way of knockout, which shows that he is primarily a standup fighter. The southpaw is very technical on the feet and he packs massive power in his hands, particularly his left hand, which is the equivalent of a nuclear bomb. Out of his 10 UFC victories, eight of them have come by way of knockout. Anytime anyone stands and trades with McGregor they are at serious risk of being knocked out because he has that special KO power that can knock someone out with a small touch.
As far as McGregor’s overall MMA game goes, he’s not the most complete fighter and he never has been because he has almost always had the edge in the standup over his opponents. His ground game isn’t the greatest, and we’ve seen McGregor get tapped out by both Diaz and Nurmagomedov on the mat in the past. It’s the biggest hole in his game and it’s the reason he never got over the hump and started to get into the MMA GOAT territory. McGregor is still great, but since he’s not a complete MMA fighter, he’s often not included in the GOAT talks.
Still, while McGregor’s overall MMA game might not be the best, he’s still a devastating puncher and his power alone can help bail him out of fights that he’s struggling in. The biggest superstar in mixed martial arts, McGregor can still be a UFC champion. If he goes out there and beats Poirier at UFC 264, he could be next in line for a title shot against new UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira. McGregor has an uphill climb as he’s the underdog in this trilogy fight with Poirier, but a win would be just what the doctor ordered to get his career back on track.
What to expect from Conor McGregor at UFC 264
McGregor knocked out Poirier at UFC 178 in 2014, but we saw him get stopped in the rematch at UFC 257. The rematch showed that McGregor still appears to be the same fighter he’s always been, while Poirier is still evolving his game. While McGregor still relies on his left hand to knock his opponents out, Poirier has the power to go along with wrestling, submissions, and cardio. It feels like at this point of their respective careers that Poirier is the more complete MMA fighter. McGregor has a puncher’s chance in this fight, but he is going to have to show more than just a big left hand if he’s going to go in there and defeat one of the most well-rounded lightweights in Poirier. It might be strange to see McGregor as the betting underdog, but it seems justified based on how the last fight between these two went. This third time around, McGregor is hoping the trilogy is more like the first meeting.