At the age of 32, McGregor is set to return from yet another retirement: as work goes, the beatings may be bloody, but the potential (re)retirement age has a certain attraction. As the UFC is set to stage three events on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi during January this year (with this venue becoming the temporary home to the UFC during the pandemic), it is the McGregor and Poirier fight that fans are desperate to see. That is not to take away from the other fights through the event: not all are claiming geriatric retirement status and these fights are still worthy of attention too.
Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar
During the build-up to the main event, there is the opportunity to see Holloway pitted against Kattar. Set for 16th January 2021, this is a fight between a former champion and an upcoming star. Holloway comes in having lost his featherweight title to Alexander Volkanovski, and then failing to regain it in a rematch. On the contrary, Kattar enters this fight on a high. Having knocked out Jeremy Stephens, Kattar will be seeking a similar performance as he sets himself up against Holloway. With both desperate for a victory, for very different reasons, this is set to be a fight to remember.
The fight that never was
January 20th was set to see Chimaev face Leon Edwards. For Chimaev, this was the chance for him to secure the biggest win of his career. For reasons that may never be known, it was Chimaev that had to walk away from this fight. It doesn’t bode well for this fight ever taking place: this one was originally set to take place on December 19th, 2020, but was cancelled when both contenders tested positive for Covid-19.
The headline event
So, onto the main event: McGregor is back, yet again, this time to face Poirier. The first meeting between the pair is one that Poirier will be keen to forget: a McGregor win in less than 2 minutes will hardly be a cherished memory for Poirier. For Poirier this time around, it may well be that he has the upper hand as the pair head for a rematch as according to the statisticians at Betway Sports, Poirier will head to Fight Island above McGregor in the rankings, at No. 2 and No. 4 respectively.
Given McGregor’s retirement, he has only faced two opponents since 2016. While no one is likely to dispute his levels of fitness, lack of fight time during the last 5 years is surely going to put him on the back foot. It was in 2018 that McGregor was seeking to regain his lightweight title. This ended in failure with a defeat at the hands of Khabib Nurmagomedov. His last fight came a year ago, January 2020: lasting a whole 40 seconds he quickly knocked out Donald Cerrone.
In contrast, Poirier enters the fight after a run including 6 wins and 1 defeat. McGregor will be looking to secure his legacy as one of the greatest UFC fighters of all time, but with Poirier’s recent run it may not all be plain sailing.