This Saturday, Dustin Poirier will take on Justin Gaethje at UFC on Fox 29. Back in Sept. of 2014, Poirier was the first true UFC test for the upstart Conor McGregor. In the roundtable from 2014, the MMATorch team examines the likelihood of Poirier derailing the McGregor hype train. Read how much times have changed in four years.
Originally published on 9/24/14
Conor McGregor faces his first legitimate top ten opponent on Saturday at UFC 178 in Dustin Poirier. Do you think he establishes himself as worthy of all the hype with a convincing win, or do you expect Poirier to bring the hype train to a halt? Why?
DAN MOORE, MMATORCH UK COLUMNIST
When this fight was first announced, I had Dustin Poirier as my clear favourite. Now we’re closing in on fight day and my prediction is turning in favour of Conor McGregor. Make no mistake, I still see Poirier as the better grappler, but I don’t think the fight goes to ground enough for it to play a factor in the outcome. As experienced as Poirier is for such a young man, after all the trash talk and hype, he will want to stand and trade with McGregor, and eventually it will backfire.
I’ve seen many worse fighters than Marcus Brimage, Max Holloway, and Diego Brandao, yet McGregor schooled all three of them easily. Poirier is a huge step up in class, but McGregor is the real deal. People also underestimate how good he is on the ground, probably because they never followed him in Cage Warriors. He’s got Gunnar Nelson as a training partner, and years of being thrown around by a welterweight aren’t for nothing. That’s all you need to know about how good he is on the ground, even though Poirier definitely has the edge.
This is going to be a close fight. Both are exciting and capable of ending it early via strikes or a submission. On the night I believe McGregor edges it via decision because Poirier simply fails to execute his perfect game plan. For McGregor, a win in this fight is crucial in his progression toward a title shot next year. If Poirier wins he has to be in line for a title eliminator against one of the others in the top five.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think the hype train hits a bump, but stays somewhat on track. I think McGregor will be tested like never before. I don’t think he’ll prove himself worthy of all the hype, because too many are buying into his Chael Sonnen-like spiel about being the best ever. There’s nothing he can do to live up to that hype except smash Poirier in 10 seconds, and that’s extremely unlikely. I think McGregor wins a close decision after Piorier gives him all he can handle.
KALE HAVERVOLD, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think Poirer is the better fighter, and has been in there with better competition. I hope he wins as I am not that big a fan of Conor, but something tells me McGregor will win and the UFC will continue to hype him like he’s the second coming of Jesus Christ.
TOM STRONG, MMATORCH UK CONTRIBUTOR
Here we go again, the return of the Conor “hype train” McGregor. Fans and media are so quick to get behind a fighter who does nothing but talk his way into fights. Nothing frustrates me more. Give me the likes of Myles Jury or Dennis Bermudez any day of the week.
Both fighters get on with business without blowing their own trumpet, or making a song and dance to get where they want to go.
Conor is a decent fighter, though he hasn’t been tested once since making his UFC debut. He’s been handed very favourable fights, and has done little to nothing to warrant a fight with Dustin Poirier, apart from run his mouth. At least in this fight with Poirer we will finally see whether or not he’s the real deal, or if he’s just all talk.
Poirier will give the unproven McGregor the test many of us want to see, and could bring this train to a halt!
Prediction: Dustin Poirier Rd. 2 Submission.
RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
It’s hard to answer this question, because I’m taking the wishy-washy easy way out and am unable to call a winner in this fight. It’s a true coin flip. McGregor has not just hype, but athleticism, technique, and power. Poirier is vastly underrated, has a ferocious mean streak, and has a big advantage if this goes to the canvas. I’m leaning McGregor, but nothing short of a McGregor submission, no result would be that wild.
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