Dustin Poirier kickstarted 2021 with a huge win over Conor McGregor, becoming the first man to stop the Irishman via knockout.
The former Interim lightweight champion implemented an excellent game plan in which he focused his attack on McGregor’s lead leg before using the damage he had done to secure a knockout. The two-fight series is now level apiece at 1-1.
The victory for Poirier means that things in the lightweight division have been shaken up as many expected McGregor to come away victorious and go on to fight current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who looked all set to retire, in a rematch.
This is what happened, when you change your team, leave the sparring partners who made you a champion and sparring with little kids, far away from reality.— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) January 24, 2021
Here are some of the potential matchups that we could see in the coming months…
Dustin Poirier vs Khabib Nurmagomedov II
Many thought Poirier’s fight against McGregor should have been for the title but it did not turn out that way. Poirier’s win means that his next fight will undoubtedly be for the title but will we see Khabib return from retirement?
Khabib’s last fight was against Justin Gaethje and as with the majority of his fights, the Russian dominated and came away with a victory. He then decided to hang up his gloves and call an end to his incredible unbeaten career.
However, UFC President Dana White has been trying to bring Khabib back to the sport but it doesn’t look likely that he will return. Following the Poirier vs McGregor fight, Khabib told White that he was “levels above these guys” leaving doubt on his return.
But if he does decide to come back it will no doubt have to be a rematch against Poirier, who he has already bested.
Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz III
There are questions over what McGregor should do next. One of the main questions being, has the Irishman lost the hunger he had for the sport? With the defeat against Poirier, McGregor is a further away from capturing the lightweight title again.
The Diaz trilogy fight proves to be one of the leading options for the former double champion. Although it may not be a fight that allows McGregor to regain the lightweight title, it will most probably be one of the biggest fights in MMA history.
Joe Rogan claimed that a fight against Nate Diaz is an ‘excellent option’ for McGregor.
The MMA world will be eagerly anticipating McGregor’s return to the Octagon.
Justin Gaethje vs Michael Chandler
Michael Chandler made perhaps one of the greatest UFC debuts ever after he knocked out Dan Hooker but who does he fight next?
Following UFC 257 Dana White said that Poirier vs Chandler is the fight he is looking to make however Poirier did not seem too keen on the idea.
Gaethje would be one of the few options for Chandler, with Gaethje having just come off a loss against Khabib.
Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier
With both fighters now having a win over each other, a possible trilogy fight is on the table.
McGregor’s long-time coach John Kavanagh told Ariel Halwani that the fight that they want next is the Poirier trilogy fight.
Kavanagh told Helwani on the MMA show, “We would love the rematch, I don’t think Dustin is against that. If we could get the rematch before the summer then that would be amazing.”
The lightweight divsion is shaping up nicely and it waits to be seen who will be champion come the end of 2021.