Per MacLifeOfficial and later confirmed by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, former UFC Featherweight and Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor has officially signed his bout agreement to take on former UFC Interim Lightweight Champion Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC 257 to take place on January 23, 2021, most likely on UFC Fight Island (Yas Island, Abu Dhabi). This fight, which is a rematch of their UFC 178 featherweight fight taken by McGregor via 1st round TKO, marks McGregor’s first fight in approximately one year since his 45 second destruction of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246 in January of 2020. Poirier’s last Octagon appearance was a fight of the year 5-round unanimous decision victory over Dan Hooker.
In my opinion, this is a great booking and absolutely tremendous for the sport of MMA. Few combat sports athletes (both boxing and MMA) are able to capture the attention and imagination of the entire sports world on the night of their fight. Pacquaio, Mayweather, Wilder, Fury, Joshua – they all need an important dance partner in a title fight for the sports world to literally stop everything in their tracks and focus on one singular event – their fight. On the other hand, McGregor, who I believe is the most popular combat sports athlete in the world, enjoys the eyes of the entire sports world every time he fights, irrespective of his opponent and irrespective of whether the fight is for the title. Bottom line, McGregor is big business. His participation in an event guarantees boosts of sales, revenue and even web traffic for every radio show, podcast, blog out there, including In the Fight. He burst onto the scene and was able to capture the imagination of his fellow countrymen and those with Irish blood all over the world with his Mystic Mac predictions and tremendous finishes. As the man himself said, he wasn’t here to just take part, but instead quickly took over the game as its number 1 attraction.
Over time, McGregor has experienced both ups and downs. Yet while the personal and professional setbacks of Nate Diaz, Floyd Mayweather, Khabib Nurmagomedov, dollies, buses, old men at bars, and sexual assault allegations linger in the minds of many and may have marred the air of invincibility he may have enjoyed after flatlining Jose Aldo in 14 seconds, or even after destroying Eddie Alvarez in a one-sided affair to capture his second world title, people continue to stop everything they are doing to see if McGregor still has that magic – that combination of Ali’s brash trash talk in the thick Irish accent accompanied by his thunderous left.