UFC 264: Poirier vs McGregor III was an absolute roller-coaster of emotion, with stunning fights from the early prelims, to the rather anti-climactic main event.
UFC 264 is reported to be the highest selling PPV of the year featuring the return of lightweight superstars Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier and ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor, while these two gentlemen were the main draw to many casual fans, the hardcore fans like you and I, were hyped to see Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson take on Gilbert ‘Durinho’ Burns in a well thought out battle of wits. A
nd who can forget Tai ‘Bam Bam’ Tuivasa’s memorable knockout of fellow heavyweight Greg Hardy and following celebration in which he partook in many well earned ‘shoeys’ one of which was cheekily spiked with Dustin Poirier’s Louisiana style hot sauce.
The pride of Lafayette, Louisiana shocked the world for a second time straight after securing a second consecutive win over Conor McGregor, whether that win is legitimate however is a topic for another day. Poirier has spent years climbing the ranks of the 155 division, after capturing the lightweight interim belt, ‘The Diamond’ as unfortunately unable to withstand the immovable object that is Khabib Nurmagomedov, however, ‘The Eagle’ himself has much respect for Poirier and has even gone as far as too suggest that Dustin may perhaps be the next big 155er, and after defeating an icon like Conor McGregor back to back, he most definitely is not far off.
The one and only bout that makes sense for Dustin at this point in time is a title shot against the current lightweight king, Charles Olivera, an interesting matchup between two elite lightweights which is guaranteed to produce fireworks, some may argue that a fourth fight with McGregor is a must, but as I said earlier, that is a topic for another day.
Conor McGregor, the UFC’s biggest draw has been stopped twice, granted this last bout was much more severe and depending on who you ask a freak accident, however that does not change the fact that Conor is riding his very first losing streak and has devalued his lightweight record even more, falling to a rather shocking 1-3 at 155. Some question Conor’s drive, does he have the desire, the fire inside him to become a champion once, to his credit, Conor opened the round fairly well but after the first couple minutes it was all downhill.
As of right now McGregor should be focused on healing and rehabilitation and perhaps toning down the out of pocket trash talk. Now IF the mac returns the octagon, hopefully sometime next year, the rankings may be drastically changed so it can be somewhat difficult to make a prediction. However at this point in time the best matchup besides a fourth fight with Dustin, which really should not happen, would be against fellow veteran Tony Ferguson, both gentlemen have lost their last three fights at lightweight and both gentlemen have expressed doing battle with one another in the past. ‘Mystic Mac’ may also want to consider retirement, McGregor really has no real incentive to keep fighting, he has already cemented his legacy as one of the all time best and has made enough money so that he never has to work again.
Gilbert ‘Durinho’ Burns defied the odds this past Saturday and pulled away with a unanimous decision victory over a tough Stephen Thompson. Burns was coming off a a TKO loss to dominant welterweight king Kamaru Usman going into the bout with Thompson and had redemption on his mind.
Burns is looking to work himself back to a second crack at the the 175 crown and in order to do so he will need to secure yet another victory against a decorated fighter, Leon Edwards immediately jumps too mind, Edwards is coming off a rather one sided victory over Nate Diaz and a bout between the two could be a potential title eliminator, another bout that would make sense for the Brazilian could be the winner of Michael Chiesa and Vicente Luque, both legitimate contenders who could present problems for Burns, and lastly a potential bout with Jorge Masvidal could be huge for Burns’ career.
It was a rough night for Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson this Saturday, after being handed his second defeat in three years, some may question Thompson’s ability to perform at the top of the welterweight division, however it cannot be denied that ‘Wonderboy’ was able to put on a clinic against Geoff Neal who is a tough contender in his own right, perhaps Thompson just had a bad night. One thing is for certain however Stephen is by no means a young man, at 38 years of age time is running out for the ‘NMF’ to make his dream of welterweight gold a reality, and in order to do so Thompson’s ability as a top contender will have to be tested in order for us to see where the Simpsonville native stands. a true test of Thompson’s ability would be a bout between the loser of Chiesa and Luque or perhaps even the winner, depending on what happens at welterweight in these next few months.
A big night for Tai ‘Bam Bam’ Tuivasa after securing his third first round KO finish in a row, despite his mellow and ‘unique’ personality, ‘Bam Bam’ is not to be slept on and is a threat to most heavyweights, after phenomenal consecutive performances Tai may be more than deserving of taking on a ranked opponent next. A rematch with Serghei Spivac may be enticing for the Aussie up and comer or perhaps even Tuivasa should face up and coming heavyweight prospect Tom Aspinall, a real test for the Sydney native which could propel either man’s career to amazing lengths and is all around a matchup that ensures fireworks.
Greg ‘Prince of War’ Hardy is now on a two fight skid following his flash defeat to Tai Tuivasa, Hardy also lost to Marcin Tybura in late 2020 leaving many unsure about the American’s future in the UFC, if Hardy wants to remain as a member of the roster he will need to convince MMA fans as well as Dana White that he can hang with the best of the best. He should have a tune-up fight against Ike Villenueva next.