Poirier vs McGregor 3: The numbers behind the fight
Poirier vs McGregor 3 odds and analysis
This weekend UFC 264 will witness the third leg of a trilogy of fights between two former lightweight champions – Dustin Poirier and the irrepressible Conor McGregor.
Poirier is the slight fight favourite in the Poirier vs McGregor 3 odds at 5/6, with McGregor priced at evens.
Ahead of their clash in Abu Dhabi we’ve looked back over McGregor’s eventful career and examined both men’s statistics for clues about what could happen.
Recapping Conor McGregor’s achievements
Despite having gone longer without having held a UFC belt, McGregor is by far the bigger draw after a rapid rise to becoming the sport’s biggest earner.
McGregor’s first MMA fight was back in 2008 when he was just 20 years old and it would take him five years to break into the UFC. After winning the Cage Warriors featherweight and lightweight championships, he marked his UFC debut with a first-round win in 2013 that would become something of a trademark.
McGregor’s first encounter with Dustin Poirier came 18 months later at UFC 178 and saw him stun the more experienced fighter with another first-round victory. Afterwards, Poirier admitted that McGregor’s pre-fight antics had “messed with my head”.
Less than a year later, in July 2015, McGregor’s stock rose significantly as he won the interim UFC Featherweight Championship, bagging his fourth successive Performance of the Night award.
At the end of the year he sent shockwaves through the MMA world by unifying the Featherweight Championship, defeating José Aldo in just 13 seconds – the fastest title win in history.
After two fights against Nate Diaz at welterweight – losing the first but winning the second – McGregor dropped back down to win the UFC Lightweight Championship belt less than a year later, dispatching Eddie Alvarez with a second-round knockout.
It would be almost two years before he stepped inside the Octagon again, but he used that time to expand his fame – and bank balance – far beyond what UFC could offer. A controversial boxing match in August 2017 saw him last 10 rounds against the undefeated Floyd Mayweather, reportedly earning him close to $100m.
His eventual return to UFC in October 2018 was an ill-tempered affair, after a long-running feud with Khabib Nurmagomedov boiled over. After failing to regain his lightweight title from the Russian, McGregor was suspended for six months following a post-fight scuffle.
McGregor’s next fight didn’t take place until January 2020 and fans saw him in action for just 40 seconds, which was all it took for him to dispatch Donald Cerrone in his return to the welterweight division.
After another year-long absence, McGregor began 2021 with a rematch against this weekend’s opponent: Dustin Poirier. This was far from the whirlwind victory in their first encounter, ending with Poirier dealing him his first ever defeat by knockout, something he will surely be looking to avenge.
How much has Conor McGregor earned?
Despite being the most famous name in the UFC, McGregor has only fought 13 times in the competition – far fewer than Poirier’s 25 appearances to date. His meteoric rise to fame is reflected in the growth of his pay packets over time.
How will Poirier vs. McGregor 3 end?
Turning our attention back to what has happened inside the Octagon, we can look at the data from their careers so far – including their previous two meetings – to predict what will happen this weekend.
One of the most popular stats in MMA is ‘significant strikes’, which counts all strikes which are judged to have landed with sufficient force to improve the chances of winning a fight.
Across their first two fights, Poirier has been the more active and more than half the blows he struck were considered to be damaging. He has landed 20 more significant strikes than McGregor across their two exchanges.
Therefore a longer fight will play into Poirier’s hands, as it will give him more opportunities to rack up damage than McGregor.
How will Poirier and McGregor approach the fight?
Looking at where their significant strikes landed during their last two fights reveals a significant difference in their strategies.
The stats suggest that McGregor will try to punch his way to victory, as over four in every five significant strikes he landed were to Poirier’s head. This should come as no surprise given the Irishman’s fondness for boxing, and their last fight saw Poirier soak up several heavy punches to the face before he was able to turn the tables.
Poirier has focused far more heavily on attacking the legs, racking up 25 of the 27 significant strikes in this area across their two previous encounters. Repeated calf kicks to McGregor’s standing leg in their last meeting disrupted his stance and limited the amount of damage he was able to deal to Poirier.
How long will Poirier vs. McGregor 3 last?
So far their two encounters have ended in the first and second rounds respectively, so a full five-round contest would be a surprise.
Looking back over their careers, both men have seen more stoppages in the first round than any other, which can be backed at 2/1.
An early ending is particularly likely if McGregor is able to gain the upper hand, as only one in every nine of his fights has lasted beyond the second round. The fight to end in round two is 3/1.
If the Irishman does control the contest then a knockout victory will be likely, as 19 of his 22 wins have ended this way and that option is priced at 5/14 in the Poirier vs McGregor 3 odds.
The endings of Poirer’s fights to date have been more varied, with fewer than half concluding with a knockout and more than a quarter of his wins coming via submission which is 21/4.
With four of McGregor’s five defeats having seen him submitting to his opponent, a strong performance from Poirier could see this trilogy end with the the more famous fighter pinned to the canvas.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication