PREVIEW — 10:00 PM
Conor McGregor’s chase for the Lightweight Championship, and a rematch against reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, takes full pursuit later tonight at UFC 257.
The wildly talented McGregor (22-4), who enters this fight under the cloud of controversy as the result of a recent multimillion-dollar personal injury lawsuit, is one of the biggest draws in MMA. A victory in the 257 main event immediately places him as the top contender for the Lightweight belt, in either a highly anticipated rematch against Nurmagomedov or, if the champ stays retired, a championship bout for a vacant title.
Standing in McGregor’s way is Dustin Poirier. Far more than the Washington Generals, Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) is seeking to avenge a loss to McGregor that took place at UFC 178 in 2014. A lot has changed since that night when McGregor won by a first-round TKO in under two minutes, but much remains the same: Poirier is still the more well-rounded fighter and McGregor’s knockout power still makes him the favorite.
UFC 257 is defined by the lightweight division. The co-main event is Michael Chandler against Dan Hooker, a battle between two fighters both looking to punch their ticket into a Lightweight Championship bout. If Nurmagomedov does not come out of retirement, it is very likely that the winner of this bout will meet the winner of McGregor-Poirier for the title. Chandler (21-5) is a three-time Bellator Lightweight Champion, but he now needs to legitimize those results in the Octagon. Hooker (20-9) will make that an extremely difficult task, as he has looked outstanding in his past four bouts and is hungry for a title shot.
All eyes are on McGregor tonight, who looks to avoid an upset against a game Poirier, as well as remind the fight world that he is both the top draw and the most elite fighter in the world.