Hey Buzz fans, I am writing to you today with an honest question that I would love feedback from you Buzz peeps out there, and that question is…why is Conor McGregor the favorite going into his fight with Dustin Poirier come January 20th?
Let’s run through why I continue to think that rankings in the sport really do not matter and star power is MORE important. And don’t get this wrong, I know Conor is one of the biggest draws in the sport, for that matter in the world period. You could probably book Conor to do a live concert singing Alabama songs and it would sell out in minutes. I have nothing but respect for Conor and think he is an extremely entertaining and talented fighter. But when I say entertaining and a money draw, just look at his exhibition boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, Conor has never had an actual boxing match ever, and if he had sparred before it was never with anyone the caliber of the undisputed G.O.A.T of the sport of boxing, and even though he lost, he was more over with the fans than ever and it gave him an even BIGGER bargaining chip with the UFC. He is the biggest PPV draw in MMA history, headlining five out of six PPVs he’s been in. HIs boxing match with Floyd Mayweather drew 4.3 million in North America, second most in North American history. He’s guaranteed money, period, that’s a fact, he’s got pull and whatever he wants to do, he can do.
But now let’s look at the facts. McGregor’s last fight at lightweight was against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 on October 6th 2018, which was over two years ago. Conor lost that fight via fourth round submission. While I will say that I personally thought Conor looked really good for that fight, he shutdown the takedown well and his striking looked decent, but in the end Khabib did what Khabib does, smash. But that was as I said, over two years ago and a loss – how is McGregor ranked fourth in the lightweight division? The last time I checked you have to fight within a weight class AND WIN to move up in the ranking. After this fight, McGregor took some time away from the sport. As a matter of fact, try 791 days until his next fight, which happened to be at welterweight against UFC legend Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. Before this, Cerrone had lost his last two at lightweight. The first was a loss by TKO to Tony Ferguson, a fight in which he was losing to Ferguson, and getting cut up with strikes and elbows.
Then on September 14th of 2019, Cerrone lost to the up and coming Justin Gaithje via first round knockout. Then 126 days later, Cowboy took on Conor McGregor on January 1th8 2020, and he was knocked out in the first round with none other than a shoulder strike. My point in mentioning all of these dates, and the word of the day, is INACTIVITY. Inactivity for Conor, for “Cowboy,” and I’ll get to it with Poirier (should say lack of). As stated, the last fight for Conor was at welterweight which doesn’t affect his ranking for the lightweight division. So to sum this part up, I ask, how does Conor McGregor remain fourth in the lightweight rankings after having essentially two fights in two years and losing the one at lightweight? Simple, draw power.
Now I think Connor is a good enough striker and has a great sprawl to fight and beat most fighters, but Dustin Poirier is a whole other animal. Let’s do the math and why I think Dustin Poirier should definitely be the betting favorite going into this fight. In the same 2018 that Conor lost to Khabib, Poirier defeated “The Highlight” Justin Gaithje on April 14th 2018 in four rounds of absolute carnage, when he finally stopped Justin Gaithje and got the TKO. A “fight of the night” winner for both of them. Three months later the same year he faced “The Underground King” Eddie Alvarez on July 28th, stopping Eddie in the second round and he took home the “Performance of the Night” bonus. The exciting fights did not stop there as the next year, in 2019, he faced Max “Blessed” Holloway for the Interim UFC Lightweight title on April 13th. Poirier won the fight via Unanimous decision in what many considered one of the best fights of 2019 as both fighters earned the “fight of the night bonus” and Poirier took the UFC Lightweight Championship back home to Louisiana with him.
Four months later he would lose the title to Pound for Pound great Khabib Nurmagomedov September 7th, when he submitted to a rear naked choke in the third round. He did have some success with a front face lock guillotine choke in the second but Khabib didn’t submit. And Poirier’s last fight was June 27th in 2020 where he won an exciting back and forth against a very game opponent in Dan “Hangman” Hooker via Unanimous decision. This was the seventh “fight of the night” award Poirier had been in. This is a different Poirier than the one that lost to McGregor on September 27th 2014. This man has since fought a who’s who of competition and competed at the very highest levels of the game. McGregor has had hot streaks as well, but after the loss the Khabib, has only competed once against a “Cowboy” who had been extremely inactive prior to the fight and was on a two fight losing streak.
So when McGregor won that fight, no disrespect. I wasn’t surprised, nor was I impressed with Conor’s performance, which really didn’t tell us anything. Poirier, since losing in 2018, has fought a killer’s row of fighters and only gotten better with every fight, even the loss to Khabib. He did what everyone else has done, and lost to Khabib! I know Conor’s a draw, and he’s big money every fight, and even the A side of the tape. He is who people are here to see, just like with a Tyson fight. That’s why it’s called a “Tyson fight.” It doesn’t matter who he’s facing, people are there to see Tyson. Same applies with Conor, a majority are there to see him, but let’s be honest, in no way shape or form does he have the edge on today’s Dustin “The Diamond ” Poirier.
Lets see what happens Buzz fans on January 23rd 2021 shall we?