Presented in partnership with UFC 264 on ESPN+
Anyone who has been paying attention to the sportsbook this week knows that the highly anticipated trilogy bout between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, which headlines UFC 264 on July 10 (July 10, 7 p.m. PST / 10 p.m. EST on ESPN+ PPV), is currently listed as a straight pick ‘em fight. And, in case you’re not familiar with sports betting, that means that it’s an even money fight, with no favorite and no underdog.
It’s a rare occurrence for a headlining bout to be listed as even money (those odds will probably change as we inch closer to fight night), and in this case, it feels slightly absurd considering how Poirier finished McGregor via second-round TKO less than six months ago. But, bear with us for a moment, as we dive into the real nitty gritty of the UFC 264 PPV main event and compare fighter stats, records, and some very detailed fight specifics, and we’ll explain exactly how Poirier and McGregor line up for this massive trilogy bout.
A Pair of MMA Thoroughbreds
First of all, let’s get something straight. “The Notorious” Conor McGregor and Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier are a pair of pure thoroughbreds when it comes to mixed martial arts.
Sure, following losses to Poirier, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Floyd Mayweather, and Nate Diaz, people love to clown on McGregor. But, make no mistake about it, McGregor, like Poirier, is a legit, world class fighter. They’re both proven commodities in the fight game, and a far cry from the celeb-fueled YouTube boxing circuit that has become popular of late.
It almost feels disrespectful to Poirier and McGregor to even need to point this out, but considering some of the fights that have been hitting the PPV airwaves of late, it’s essential to point out that the UFC 264 main event is a high level mixed martial arts competition, not just some circus for the cameras.
A Look at Conor McGregor’s Stats
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s start on the feet, in the standup department, where McGregor has done his best work inside the Octagon, mainly on account of that thunderous missile he calls a left hand.
Predominantly a striker, McGregor has finished 19 of his 22 victories via KO/TKO, 14 of which came in the very first round. Those are some rather impressive numbers, especially considering that Poirier is one of those victims, losing to McGregor in less than two minutes back in 2014 at UFC 178.
Obviously, this means that McGregor likes to start fast and finish fights early. However, he does have some experience fighting into the championship rounds, so it’s not impossible to imagine that the UFC 264 PPV main event will go the distance.
Ah, who are we kidding. McGregor is totally looking to land the knockout punch early.
A winner of his first seven UFC fights (his current UFC record is 10-3), McGregor is also a bonus machine, collecting additional post-fight checks on 10 occasions.
It’s kind of hard to quantify how performance bonuses can affect a fight, but in McGregor’s case, the former two-division champ places a premium on entertainment and always delivers inside the Octagon.
Seriously, even when he loses, he really wins.
Submissions have obviously been the weak point of McGregor’s MMA game. Tapping out twice in the Octagon and four times overall, McGregor is susceptible to chokes and armlocks. He’s also only recorded one submission victory in his 27-fight career, so judging by those numbers, it’s quite apparent that Conor won’t be looking for the takedown at UFC 264. No doubt, he’s going straight for the kill.
A Look at Dustin Poirier’s Stats
Like McGregor, Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier also has eight knockouts inside the Octagon, although he also has four submissions in the UFC. It’s a major part of his overall well-rounded MMA arsenal.
Poirier, who will enter the Octagon for the 26th time at UFC 264, is looking for his twentieth win in the UFC, a mark that would tie him with former champions Georges St-Pierre, Michael Bisping, and Jon Jones for fourth all time. For sure that’s an impressive statistic, but what’s even more impressive is that Poirier already has more fight-night bonuses than St-Pierre, Bisping, and Jones, having taken home 12 extra checks for his incredible in-cage performances since joining the UFC in 2011.
Performance bonuses aren’t necessarily the way to measure a fighter’s success, but Poirier, who owns wins over McGregor, former champs Eddie Alvarez, Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis, along with notable victories over Justin Gaethje and Dan Hooker, has a knack for action, not only by delivering heavy-handed punishment, but also by absorbing strikes and firing right back.
Set to headline his ninth UFC fight card, Poirier can win a fight at any time, which makes him a threat every second he’s inside the Octagon. Not only has he gone the full five-round distance on a pair of occasions, but he’s also finished six opponents in the first round, four in the second frame, along with finishes over Pettis in the third and Gaethje in the fourth. Seriously, McGregor can’t let his guard down for a second or Poirier will always be ready to pounce.
Evaluating Poirier’s numbers is a bit misleading though because his finest attribute is most definitely his heart. Even looking back at his last fight against McGregor at UFC 257, Poirier got tagged pretty hard in the first round and even wobbled a bit. However, he’s been in every situation imaginable in MMA, so rather than folding under the pressure, he found a way to hang in there and turn up the heat at the perfect time to destroy McGregor in the second.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Overall, it’s impossible to use these stats as some sort of mathematical equation to predict who will win and in what round and fashion. But the numbers: the wins, the finishes, the performance bonuses; all lead to one inescapable outcome — the UFC 264 PPV main event on ESPN+ will be an absolute banger of a fight.
Just don’t expect the same fight we saw the first two times around. Both McGregor and Poirier are way too decorated, proven, and tactical to fall into traps from fights past. But if there’s one expectation that this fight can deliver on, it’s action. All action, all the time.
UFC 264 goes down on Saturday, July 10 on ESPN+ PPV.
UFC 264 Fight Card
UFC 264 Pay Per View Main Card (on ESPN+ PPV) 7 p.m. PST / 10 p.m. EST
- Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor
- Gilbert Burns vs. Stephen Thompson
- Tai Tuivasa vs. Greg Hardy
- Irene Aldana vs. Yana Kunitskaya
- Sean O’Malley vs. Kris Moutinho
UFC 264 Prelims (on ESPN+ & ESPN) 5 p.m. PST / 8 p.m. EST
- Carlos Condit vs. Max Griffin
- Niko Price vs. Michel Pereira
- Ryan Hall vs. Ilia Topuria
- Dricus du Plessis vs. Trevin Giles
UFC 264 Early Prelims (on ESPN+ & ESPN) 3 p.m. PST / 6 p.m. EST
- Jessica Eye vs. Jennifer Maia
- Omari Akhmedov vs. Brad Tavares
- Zhalgas Zhumagulov vs. Jerome Rivera
- Alen Amedovski vs. Hu Yazong
*Fight card subject to change
Dan Shapiro is a writer, editor, musician, and producer currently based in Los Angeles. In addition to covering some of the biggest fights in combat sports history, he’s also hunted down the world’s best sushi, skied the northern hemisphere in July, and chronicled Chinese underground music for publications like CNN, the New York Daily News, VICE, and Time Out. Dan also conjured up a ghost at the Chateau Marmont while out on assignment for RoadTrippers. Follow him on Twitter here.
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