Thumbnail Photo Courtesy Of Instagram/Dustin Poirier)

A turning point in the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is expected on July 10th* 2021 as “The Notorious” Conor McGregor will step into the octagon to face “The Diamond” Dustin Poirier for a third time in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). This fight is viewed as a do or die for McGregor as many feel that he may have to retire if he loses. 

The Irishman has been vocal on social media throughout the pandemic often tweeting that he would like to challenge for both the UFC’s lightweight and welterweight titles. He held the lightweight title in 2016 after a spectacular second-round finish over former champion Eddie Alvarez but is yet to taste welterweight glory. Ever since his debut in 2007, McGregor has risen to become one of the biggest athletes in the world and has seen his wealth grow incredibly. He will be under pressure as Poirier looks to knock him out in consecutive bouts.

In their first bout, which was in the UFC’s featherweight division, Conor got into Dustin’s head with mind games and trash talk. The Irishman knocked Dustin out and was then seen as a serious contender for a title. This was at UFC 178 in 2014. Fast-forwarding to January 2021, both men were competing in the lightweight division and met in the octagon for the second time headlining UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi. The first round was pretty even with Dustin landing some good low kicks and taking Conor down while Conor landed some good left hands and shoulder strikes. In the second round, a flurry of punches from Dustin saw him knock out Conor, something nobody had seen coming. As sweet as the victory was, Dustin was quick to acknowledge that they were tied 1-1 and a third tiebreaking fight had to happen. The third fight was then set for UFC 264 on July 10th, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is expected to be the biggest Pay Per View (PPV) of the year. Unsurprisingly, the tickets for the event were sold out in seconds!

McGregor (left) and Poirier fight at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi Photo Courtesy Of Getty Images)

The pair have had words for each other on social media with Dustin disappointed that Conor did not honor his promise to donate half a million dollars to his charity and Conor angrily retorting that it was meant to be “a donation, not a debt”. This sets up the fight nicely with everyone involved expectant to see the Conor of old with his swagger and brilliant trash talking which has not been seen in his last two fights. This winner of this fight will get the next shot at the lightweight title which is currently held by Jiu-Jitsu specialist Charles “do Bronx” Oliveira.

One of the big questions still yet to be answered is centered on Conor’s motivation. He was recently named the highest-earning athlete by Forbes having earned $180 million in 2020, surpassing even footballers Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi! Marvin Hagler, a boxing legend, once said that it is hard to get up in the morning for a run when you are sleeping in silk sheets implying that it is hard to find the motivation to go to work when you have already earned everything you may want- money and titles for example. Conor has won two titles in the UFC; he recently sold his whiskey brand for a huge amount and has a couple of endorsement deals. Why does he still keep fighting? Do these factors affect his preparations for fights? If there was a time to put the doubters and those questioning his motivation away for Conor, it is on July 10th.

Whatever the outcome, the fight promises to be exciting. Will Dustin put Conor away or will Conor put his best foot forward and deliver another iconic knockout. We will find out on July 10th as The Diamond Dustin Poirier takes on The Notorious Conor McGregor in the biggest fight of the year.

*July 10th is the official date provided by the UFC. Due to time zone differences, the event happens on July 11th EAT in Kenya.


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