Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor

A long-awaited rematch takes place this Saturday, January 23, when Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor stand toe-to-toe for the second time in the main event of UFC 257.

Poirier vs. McGregor is the final scheduled bout of the night and can be watched live by ordering the pay-per-view event on ESPN+.

The two originally met all the way back at UFC 178 in September 2014, where McGregor walked away with a first-round TKO victory. That bout marked Poirier’s final fight in the featherweight division as he immediately moved up to compete in the UFC’s 155-pound category where he has enjoyed tremendous success in the past six years.

Many fans believe Poirier has improved enough to change the outcome this time at UFC 257.

But what do the fighters and experts think?

James Lynch and Helen Yee asked fighters and experts for their opinions about the Poirier vs. McGregor rematch. Here’s what they had to say:

Picking Conor McGregor

Leon Edwards

“I think Conor. I think Conor gets it done. From the last fight, both of them improved, and Dustin has improved leaps and bounds. But I think Conor, his shots will still be too heavy for him, and I think he probably finishes him again. I think a later round this time, but I think he finishes him again.”

– via James Lynch

Kevin Holland

“[I’m a] Big Conor fan and a big Poirier fan, I think they’re all great fighters but I kind of see it going the same way. Artem Lobov, the GOAT, said it great, you know. People act like Dustin Poirier wasn’t good before he fought Conor last time. Dustin Poirier has always been good, you know. It’s just that styles make fights and I think that’s a good style for Conor. But overall, that’s a good fight for the fans. If Poirier goes out there smart, it may not be the same result but overall it should be close to the same fight.”

– via Helen Yee

Demetrious Johnson

“I’mma have to go with Conor. I feel like people don’t give Conor enough credit for how dynamic he can be. I’m not saying I’m looking past Dustin Poirier but Conor McGregor is pretty damn dynamic and he’s pretty crafty the way he goes about doing things. If I was a betting man… And he’s also knocked out Dustin Poirier, but that was earlier in Dustin’s career. I think Dustin was very emotional in that fight with the trash-talking, but you know what, I’m going to have to watch that fight. I’ve got no idea who’s going to win it.”

– via James Lynch

Javier Mendez

“I favor Conor because he’s the better precision striker and taking Conor to the ground is going to be no easy task for Dustin. So, Dustin’s going to have to grit it out, get inside, and grind him out if he’s able to. Anything is possible, they’re both world-class athletes, but I definitely favor Conor because of the striking aspect. He’s the master striker in the lightweight division. I favor Conor but I’m not counting Dustin out by any means.”

– via Helen Yee

Cory Sandhagen

“McGregor. I think McGregor’s going to win. I think McGregor’s good, too, man. He’s one of those guys that not only is he just a big highlight reel of knockouts and moves and stuff, but I think that he’s also just a really high-level fighter. We like to see things too black and white in this sport sometimes and it’s really easy to write someone off as ‘oh, McGregor fought blah, blah, blah, and he got beat by Khabib and this and that’ and it’s like everyone who fought Khabib has been beaten by Khabib like that. Conor’s not someone to write off because he got beat by Khabib.”

– via James Lynch

Chris Weidman

“I love Poirier. Conor McGregor, I love him too, he’s awesome. Obviously, the fight with Floyd Mayweather was probably super beneficial for him with his boxing and giving him confidence, just that training alone. I think it’s going to be more of a boxing fight unless Poirier’s taking him to the ground which I really can’t imagine. And that being said, I’m going to have to go with Conor Mcgregor again. I think it’s just a bad matchup for Poirier, being that he’s more of a boxer and Conor McGregor, that’s been his forte his whole career and he’s already proved to have the leg up on him in that last fight they fought. It’s an interesting fight, I’m pumped to watch it because Poirier’s as tough as they come and he’s probably super motivated for this fight and you don’t know where McGregor’s head is at.”

– via James Lynch

Justin Gaethje

“I don’t know, man. This is two really high level fighters. Conor is really good. I do see him probably winning. It’ll be interesting to see if Dustin rises to the occasion. I don’t think that’s [the weight] an issue. I think what’s different is their mindsets because of the places they are and the places they’ve gone since then. They’re much different people since that fight, you know, both of them.”

– via Helen Yee

Stephen Thompson

“It’s been a while since we’ve seen Conor McGregor fight. His last fight was with Donald Cerrone but we saw how that went. I know Dustin Poirier has made some improvements since the last time they fought but to be honest with you, Conor McGregor is a lifelong martial artist. Even though he’s not in the fight or in the Octagon, he’s always training. He could possibly pull out another win, for sure.”

– via Helen Yee

Ben Askren

“I think McGregor, for sure. We’ve already seen it once. Poirier is obviously much improved since that last fight, so I think there’s a chance that Poirier wins but I would lean McGregor for sure.”

– via James Lynch

Jack Hermansson

“Dustin looks like another fighter now than he did before, but at the same time, style-wise it’s a good matchup for Conor. So I’ll give Conor that one.”

– via James Lynch

Picking Dustin Poirier

Dustin Poirier completes an open workout before UFC 242
Dustin Poirier completes an open workout before UFC 242 (UFC/Getty Images)

Dan Hooker

“Man, honestly, that’s a super tough fight to pick. I feel like so much has changed since the first fight. Dustin is one of the most durable guys in the whole division. I don’t see Conor being able to take him out like he did in the first fight. I feel like it’s going to be a war. I feel like it’s going to be a knockdown, drag-out fight that goes the distance. I feel like the fans are in for a treat with that one.

“Dustin Poirier beat me up so obviously I want him to do well because then it doesn’t make me look as shit, but on the same hand, in my opinion, skill-for-skill Conor McGregor is the most technical and is the most skillful in the division since the champ has retired. Skill-for-skill, technique-for-technique, I feel like Conor McGregor is the most difficult guy to beat. But, yeah, taking away from Dustin Poirier’s cardio and his durability, so I’m putting that $500 on Poirier, but it’s close. That’s close money.”

– via James Lynch

Neil Magny

“I think Dustin gets the rematch. I think at this point they’ve both moved up a weight class, but Dustin has been so active in the last couple of years since they’ve fought last. I feel like he’s fought a lot more tougher competition than Conor has over the last couple of years, so I just feel like Dustin will be the one that edges it out this time.”

– via James Lynch

Anthony Smith

“I’m liking Poirier, I really am. I think he’s just a different guy. It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be an extremely competitive fight. But I think Dustin has made those improvements. He looked really good until he fought Khabib, he looked unstoppable up until that point. He beat Justin Gaethje. I just really like Dustin Poirier in that fight.”

– via James Lynch

Renato Moicano

“Of course, I’m going to say Poirier. Poirier has evolved so much. At 155 he has had a great career. He’s much more experienced right now. It’s funny you asked because I was just watching the first fight of them and Poirier was angry, he was really mad. He really goes forward in that fight and right now he’s more a boxer, picking the shots, a lot of jabs, a lot of feints, a lot of cross, so I think he’s going to be much more focused on that rematch and I think Poirier is going to win.”

– via James Lynch

Mackenzie Dern

“I think Dustin. I think it’s going to be a good fight, but I think Dustin is hungry for that rematch. It’s different. Conor is so technical, so precise, in my opinion, but he was kind of on that momentum, and once you kind of stop that momentum and I’m sure Dustin goes and watches the fight and sees all these things, he’s been getting better, too. So I definitely the rematch has a bigger chance to go for Dustin and maybe there’ll be a number three, you know?”

– via James Lynch

Rob Font

“I might go with Dustin on this one. I think he’s going to TKO him. I think he’s been showing more power, he’s been putting together some crisp combinations. He’s showing nice and gritty, tough fights, he looked really good in the Max Holloway fight. We’ll see. If Conor doesn’t show up in shape and doesn’t put him away in that first round, I can see Poirier getting a TKO or something.”

– via James Lynch

Malcolm Gordon

“I don’t know, man. I feel like Poirier is hungry, you know what I mean? The second time’s a charm for that kid. He’s going to have everything in the world to prove so he’s going to come in hot.

– via James Lynch

Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier
Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier (Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Analysis (no prediction)

Chael Sonnen

“Dustin has ways to beat Conor but he’s going to have to deal with that speed. I feel as though rounds two, three, four, and five could be stronger for Dustin than round one but it’s really going to matter how he comes out in that first round. If he takes a few of those left hands again, takes a few of those kicks to the stomach again, that can change a guy. Dustin, I do think technically he is very, very good, is he as good as Conor, we’re going to find out. Pure speed and power favored Conor then and it favors Conor now, but under the unified rules of mixed martial arts, Dustin does not have to go out there and go jabs and crosses with him. There are other things he can do. If he does those other things, I think it can change his night, but no if he goes out and tries to punch and kick with Conor McGregor, he’s going to end up like everyone else, face down and embarrassed.”

– via James Lynch

Anthony Pettis

“I think that’s a different fight this time. I think Dustin’s not going to come in as emotional as last time. I think he’ll be a little smarter. I fought Dustin, too, and I know his style. Southpaw vs. southpaw gives Conor a different look than his usual slip and bang with his left. I think it’s going to be a different fight. I’m not sure how it plays out but I think it’ll be different from the first one.”

– via Helen Yee

Marlon Vera

“I’m very excited about that fight. I think Poirier looked better in that weight class. He doesn’t seem that dehydrated. But Conor is still having that puncher’s chance because he has that piercing in his left hand. If he gets clipped early, he’ll go down, but if he can take Conor to the later rounds, you’ll see Poirier win in the same way he did against Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez.”

– via Helen Yee

Miesha Tate

“I’m very excited for that fight. I think that Poirier is definitely the more improved of the two, that I can tell because Conor doesn’t fight very often, so it’s kind of difficult to gauge sometimes. He had a great performance against Cowboy but, again, I think that Dustin Poirier is on a different level right now and I think that he’s come into his man-body since he fought Conor the first time. And also, his defense is so much better. He used to just kind of like, it was like arm high, joust move out for every single thing that everybody would throw at him, that’s what he’d do. And now he counterpunches, he’s got better footwork, he’s got better head movement, he’s a way better fighter. And he’s willing to give him the firefight which is risky I think against Conor, too, because he doesn’t worry about tucking his chin so much. He’s willing to just get in there and fight. It’s exciting and that’s why we love him. It’s a little risky against Conor. I think Conor’s got a talent for finding the openings and finding the time. I think he hits hard, but I’ve seen Conor get rocked, too. I’ve seen Conor get stunned a little and a little bit hurt, I don’t know if other people picked up on it but Khabib, I think it was a jab, Khabib hit him with a jab and you saw it for a second that he didn’t have his feet under him like he did before he got hit with that jousting jab. So, Conor’s vulnerable to that, too. I can see that fight ending in a knockout, one way or the other, either way.”

– via Helen Yee

UFC 257 streams live this Saturday, January 23, on the ESPN+ digital streaming service. Here’s how to order and watch the Poirier vs. McGregor PPV on ESPN+.

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