The long-awaited return of Conor McGregor to the UFC octagon is officially set to take place on January 24th at UFC 257. The Irishman is set to fight Dustin Poirer in a rematch of their fight in 2014 in which McGregor won via first round TKO.
McGregor is currently a -280 favorite at Bovada with Poirier coming back as the +220 underdog.
McGregor vs Poirier 2 at UFC 257
The UFC will be returning to Fight Island in Abu Dhabi for this pay-per-view event. UFC President Dana White has made claims that they will be allowing a full arena for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The current report is that the fight will be a 5-round lightweight bout, but there were whispers that the promotion would put the lightweight belt on the line with their current champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, reportedly stepping away from the sport. Those rumors have since been dispelled by White.
While the full fight card is still being put together, a few other highlights on the card include a featherweight fight between Shane Burgos and Hakeem Dawodu as well as a women’s flyweight tilt between Jessica Eye and Joanne Calderwood.
Early Line Movement Shifted Towards McGregor
When the rematch bout was officially announced sportsbooks opened the odds at -175 in favor of McGregor, but within a matter of days those odds shifted all the way to -235 and they’re now up to -280.
McGregor has closed as the betting favorite in all but two of his UFC bouts. Once was to Khabib Nurmagomedov, who he subsequently lost to via fourth round submission. He also closed as a slight underdog to Jose Aldo in his featherweight championship fight, only to knock out the Brazilian in just thirteen seconds.
Dustin Poirier has been set as the underdog in three fights since his original tilt with McGregor. He suffered a loss to Nurmagomedov as a +285 underdog, but managed to get wins over Max Holloway and Joseph Duffy when his odds closed at +165 and +110 respectively.
How to Bet on McGregor vs Poirier 2
With this being one of the biggest fights the UFC will put on in 2021, odds will be available at all of the best sportsbooks on the internet. With the current odds, a $100 bet on McGregor at -280 would net you $35.71 while the same bet on Poirier would net you $220 if “The Diamond” pulls off the upset.
If you want to get a little bit more creative with your bet, you can wager on more specific prop bets like “how will the fight be finished” and “what round will the fight be finished in”. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, you can call your shot and bet on which fighter will win the fight and in which specific round. If you decide to go this route, a big payday will be in your future if you manage to cash that bet.
What has McGregor Done Since his 2014 Fight Against Poirier?
Since TKO’ing Dustin Poirier back at UFC 178 in 2014, Conor McGregor has established himself as one of the most recognized and celebrated combat athletes of our generation. While he’s suffered a couple of losses along the way, he’s maintained his spot at the forefront of pop culture.
McGregor has a UFC record of 6-2 since his first tangle with Poirier. He also became a two-division champion after defeating Jose Aldo for the featherweight strap in 2015 and then dismantling Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title in 2016.
The Irishman has only fought twice since that second title victory in 2016. Once was a loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018 and then a stunning first round victory over Donald Cerrone in January of 2020.
Dustin Porier will be Much More Battle Tested in McGregor Rematch
While he hasn’t exploded onto the pop culture scene like McGregor has since their first fight, Dustin Poirier has been much more active from a competitive standpoint. He’s fought thirteen times since that 2014 loss, holding a record of 10-2 (one “No Contest”) in that span. His only losses since McGregor was to Michael Johnson in 2016 and a lightweight title loss to Nurmagomedov in 2019.
During that stretch of fights, Poirier captured the UFC interim lightweight championship and also had wins over big name fighters like Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, and former champions Anthony Pettis and Tony Ferguson.
What will be Different in the Rematch?
It can sometimes be tough to justify a rematch in combat sports, as we more often than not see a similar result to what we saw the first time out. All signs point to this not being the case this time around. Six years is an eternity in combat sports and you can expect this fight to have a completely different feel than the 2014 bout.
The first major difference is that this contest will be fought at lightweight (155 lbs) instead of featherweight (145 lbs) which is the weight class these two fought at six years ago. The new weight class seems to be a much better fit for Poirier who possesses more power at 155 lbs. He also managed to win the interim championship at lightweight, something he wasn’t able to do while competing at featherweight.
While we haven’t seen a lot of McGregor since 2014, we’ve seen a few different versions of the Irish fighter. With his public legal issues and his out-of-the-cage “antics”, it’s clear that he hasn’t been as focused as he was during his journey to a UFC championship. The McGregor we saw in his losses against Nate Diaz and Khabib Nurmagomedov was a shell of the fighter we saw during his championship run where he looked near invincible.
McGregor did look much more like his former self against Donald Cerrone at the start of 2020, but whether or not we see Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde at UFC 257 is a mystery that we’ll have to wait until January 23rd to find out.