Conor McGregor is set to return on Jan. 23, 2021, at UFC 257 to rematch Dustin Poirier. The two are ranked in the UFC’s top three at lightweight, but the bout won’t be for a title even though lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement following his last fight.
Of course, the reason that the belt remains around Khabib’s waist is because he hasn’t withdrawn from the USADA testing pool and UFC president Dana White hopes to convince him to fight at least one more time.
McGregor’s longtime coach, John Kavanagh, however, feels McGregor vs. Poirier should be for the belt.
“I don’t really get why this one isn’t for the title, if I’m being 100 percent honest,” Kavanagh told MacLife recently. “Maybe it’s Dana, this is a little carrot towards Khabib, ‘Do you really want (McGregor to regain the belt)?’ I don’t know. I know there’s stuff, the games that go on, I don’t involve myself in it.
“But this to me feels like it’s for the belt. But I guess at the very least the winner of this will be offered a title fight but who would that be against? It’s a bit of a strange scene we have in front of us, which makes it interesting.”
Though Kavanagh thinks the fight should be for the belt, he feels the fight is still heavily in his fighter’s favor, especially since McGregor holds a win over Poirier from their first fight 2014. He knocked Poirier out at 1:46 of the first round.
“I think you can spend a lifetime going to sports psychologists and talking to this person and that person; that’s not going to have been erased from his mind,” Kavanagh said of McGregor knocking out Poirier in that first fight.
“He knows that he is facing somebody who can shut off his lights very, very rapidly and now is a lot more powerful and a lot more experienced than he was even then, so it’s a tough, uphill battle for Dustin.”
(Video courtesy of TheMacLife)