UFC 257: Poirier vs McGregor 2 was a night full of shock and awe for UFC fans all around the globe. From a business standpoint, the card is expected to clock 1.5 million PPV buys when the numbers are tallied. This number showed in full that ESPN crashed due to the high number of traffic flooding to watch the much anticipated fight card at the start of the main card. But who stole the show Saturday night and made the most of their time on ‘Fight Island.’
#2 Dustin Poirier (27-6-0, 1NC)
Dustin Poirier is the overall winner of the entire card. He became the first man to finish Conor McGregor with strikes in his UFC career. The highly anticipated rematch was sparked up due to the previous match between the two, which saw McGregor finish Poirier in the first round. This fight would be the complete opposite. After a solid first round by the Irishman, Poirier began to land a plethora of low calf kicks. This affected McGregor’s movement and took all the power out of his punches. Shortly after, Poirier swarmed McGregor with a flurry of punches that sent the Notorious down to the canvas and ended the fight. His performance won him an extra $50k with his ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus.
What’s next for ‘The Diamond’? Coming into this bout, UFC President, Dana White, made it very clear the winner of this fight would get a title shot. Now, this is where the matchmaking gets complicated. It looks like Khabib Nurmagomedov wasn’t impressed enough with any performance from this card to come back, which would make the UFC Lightweight division with a vacant title. If I’m the UFC matchmaker, I book another rematch for the title, Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje 2. Their first fight was a back and forth battle that saw Poirier knock Gaethje out. Since then, Gaethje has refined his skills and made it to the top of the division, and I don’t think there is a better match to make.
Michael Chandler (22-5-0)
A debut win for the UFC newcomer doesn’t sound too bad. For UFC lightweight Michael Chandler, his debut win would be the most impressive fashion possible. Coming into his UFC 257 bout with #6 Dan Hooker (20-10-0), many question marks were surrounding the Missouri native. Chandler was just signed from a rival MMA organization, Bellator, where he was the former lightweight champ. Many believed the skill gap would be far too much for ‘Iron Michael,’ but he proved the naysayers very wrong. Chandler came out and knocked out one of the division’s most durable guys in Hooker, with a massive left hook to the chin. It was a scary night for the lightweight division that saw a wrestling first fighter only win using his new and improved striking skills. His Performance also landed him the $50k ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus.
With this win, Chandler has skyrocketed to the top of the division, and there is only one fight to make. Despite Chandler hopping on the mic post-fight and calling out McGregor and Nurmagomedov, the fight to book is against #3 Charles Oliveira (30-8-0, 1NC). Oliveira has been on a tear of the lightweight division, taking out top competitors left and right. Have Poirier and Gaethje fight for the belt and have Chandler and Oliveira fight to get the title shot next. The lightweight division has never been more stacked than it is now.
This event was a monumental event for the lightweight division and the UFC as a whole. Despite the poster boy losing, McGregor has no intention of quitting, keeping the lightweight division even more lethal. The event also saw a large number of live fans in attendance, giving the sports world a taste of fan interaction once more. Keep your eyes open as the year rolls on, as the UFC will look to capitalize on the hype surrounding the division and keep the fans coming in record numbers.