Conor McGregor will face Dustin Poirier on January 23 at UFC 257 to determine the number one contender in the lightweight division.
More than six years since they first met as fledgling featherweights, the hard-hitting pair will cross paths once again in the octagon.
McGregor first fought Poirier at UFC 178 in 2014Getty Images – Getty
McGregor has brought his premature retirement to an end and will end his self-imposed exile following the Donald Cerrone win last January with a bout against the dangerous ‘Diamond’.
Poirier got back into the win column following his UFC title loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov with an enthralling fight with Dan Hooker.
Redemption and resilience are crucial characteristics for the Louisiana-native, who rebuilt his career at 155lbs after the first-round defeat to McGregor back in 2014.
Both men were gunning for featherweight champion Jose Aldo at the time, with ‘The Notorious’ infamously knocking the Brazilian out in just 13 seconds in 2015.
McGregor locked eyes with Poirier in the lobby of the MGM Grand HotelUFC (YouTube)
Before he would get his hands on the gold, he first had to contend with Poirier – a man with title ambitions of his own. After introducing the world to ‘Mystic Mac’ with his knockout of Diego Brandao, McGregor set about unnerving his next opponent as soon as the fight was signed.
Taking aim at his chin, his upbringing and even the size of his head, the Irishman rained down on Poirier with vicious verbal barbs as the oral warfare began.
It worked incredibly well for McGregor, with cameras capturing Poirier telling coach Mike Brown he ‘had never disliked someone that much’ before a fight before.
The young man from Crumlin duly watched the UFC Embedded footage back some 24 hours later and was understandably hysterical to learn he was beginning to break his opponent already.
‘The Diamond’ told ATT coach Mike Brown he ‘never disliked somebody that much’ before a fightUFC (YouTube)
24 hours later, ‘The Notorious’ was left absolutely howling at the reaction from PoirierUFC (YouTube)
He told the camera crew in his hotel room, ‘I hope he likes me after I whoop his ass’ before duly delivering with a first round knockout.
Of course, Poirier has improved considerably since that first fight and the impact of COVID-19 means press conference and media appearances will be limited, meaning McGregor will have fewer opportunities to get inside the head of the 32-year-old.
However, with or without spectators in attendance, a McGregor fight brings pressure like no other fight night in the UFC calendar. Poirier will hope he can utilise so ‘The Diamond’ can shine.