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McGregor faces biggest test yet as Poirier awaits in Sin City

Ireland’s top MMA fighter has heaped more pressure on himself ahead of UFC 178 tonight. He talks the talk but will he continue to walk the walk?

UFC 178 weigh in 2 McGregor at last night's weigh-in.

JUST THREE FIGHTS into his UFC career, Conor McGregor is the name on everyone’s lips in Las Vegas with UFC 178 less than 24 hours away.

Hype has followed the outspoken 26-year-old around since before he was winning Cage Warriors belts in two divisions. Prior to the Dublin event back in July, it went into overdrive as he promised to take Diego Brandao’s head “clean off” in front of home fans.

Thankfully, there were no decapitations at the O2 Arena that night but McGregor did back up all the pre-fight trash-talking with a first round TKO. With Cathal Pendred, Paddy Holohan, Neil Seery, Norman Parkes and Gunnar Nelson all by his side afterwards, he proclaimed: “We’re not here just to take part – we’re here to take over!” and there is no doubting that he wholeheartedly meant it.

While he clearly possesses talent in abundance, McGregor will be the first to admit that his smart mouth has enabled him to climb the ladder faster than many others. He has built a strong following in a relatively short space of time with UFC president Dana White even taking a shine. That said, there are plenty who can’t stand his cocky demeanor.

Love him or loathe him, MMA fans will be tuning in in their droves to see how he fares tonight when he takes on American Dustin Poirier at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The flyweight title fight between Demetrious Johnson and Chris Cariaso may be the headliner (after Jon Bones Jones pulled out of a highly-anticipated match-up with Daniel Cormier) but the build-up suggests there is a real appetite for this match-up. A glimpse at the UFC’s official YouTube channel tells its own story with the Countdown to UFC video featuring McGregor and Poirier picking up just short of 250,000 views — over 100,000 more than the main event.

As last night’s weigh-ins also showed, a strong Irish following has made the trip to Nevada and those supporters are sure to make themselves heard.

Having disposed of Marcus Brimage and Diego Brandao with such efficiency (a serious knee injury sustained during the Max Holloway fight meant it wasn’t as straightforward), there is a tendency by some to dismiss the SBG fighter’s opponents to-date.

You can’t deny Poirier’s pedigree, however. With a record of eight wins and two losses from ten UFC fights, the Louisiana native, despite being a year McGregor’s junior, has considerable experience in the Octagon and is a genuine contender who can cause damage both on his feet and by submission.

For a detailed profile on the man nicknamed ‘The Diamond’, have a read of my piece from earlier in the week.

This could prove to be a much closer contest than the first round knockout McGregor has predicted but TKOs are always on the cards when you consider his explosive striking ability and devastating counter-punches.

If he does fulfill his promise and continue his meteoric rise to the top by claiming victory against the fighter ranked fifth in the featherweight division, a title shot would not be too far away. Whatever happens in the early hours of tomorrow morning, it is sure to be worth staying up for.

McGregor Poirier stats Source: UFC.com

Records 

  • McGregor: 15 wins, two defeats (3-0 in the UFC)
  • Poirier: 16 wins, three defeats (8-2 in the UFC) 

Betting 

  • McGregor win: 1/3
  • Poirier win: 9/4
  • Fight of the Night: 10/3

Where to watch it

BT Sport 1 has live coverage with the prelims starting at 1am before the main card begins at 3am. For more information on how and where to watch UFC 178, read this article.

McGregor and Poirier in heated face-off as UFC 178 fight night nears

Where can you watch Conor McGregor’s fight this weekend?

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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