Dustin Poirier is well acquainted with fellow UFC fighters Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler. The former interim UFC lightweight champion holds a combined 3-0 record against the two men, who are set to headline the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter 31. Poirier defeated McGregor twice in 2021, first knocking him out in the second round at UFC 257, and then winning by first-round stoppage after McGregor experienced a broken leg at UFC 264. Poirier also defeated Chandler, securing a third-round submission in an exciting fight at UFC 281 last November.
As the most recent opponent for both men, Poirier is in a unique position to offer insights on their upcoming fight. When asked to pick a winner, Poirier predicted that McGregor would win if he returned to his pre-injury form, stating “If Conor comes back anything like he was with his timing and rhythm…and we’re not getting any younger either – if he comes back similar to who he was before he left, I think he stops Michael Chandler… I think the fight’s over in two rounds.”
However, McGregor’s health and dedication are major concerns leading up to the fight. A former two-division champion, McGregor has only fought four times since 2016, winning only once. He has been out of action since injuring his leg during his trilogy match with Poirier in July 2021 and has not been part of the USADA testing pool.
McGregor is expected to re-enroll in the program soon, but he must remain in the pool for six months before he can compete again. UFC president Dana White has indicated that the promotion is targeting a late November or December date for McGregor’s fight against Chandler, following the airing of TUF 31.
Many within the MMA world, including Poirier, are eager to see which version of McGregor will show up against Chandler— the dominant fighter of the past or a weakened and unfocused ex-champion. Poirier believes that McGregor can return to his winning ways if he is fully focused and committed, saying “If anybody can [dial back the clock], I think it would be him… But we’ll see, man. That’s what makes it so interesting.” Interestingly, Poirier has also been drawn back into the McGregor orbit thanks to the recent release of Netflix’s documentary series, McGregor Forever. Poirier’s two victories against McGregor feature prominently in the series.