Dana White and others have been floating the idea that Conor McGregor should fight Dustin Poirier again. But, according to Kevin Lee, McGregor – Poirier 2 would be more about rebuilding the star rather than giving the former champ a serious test.
Since McGregor was submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October, there’s been no shortage of talk about what’s next for the “Notorious” one. Some have argued that the UFC will ultimately go with Nurmagomeodv – McGregor 2, since that fight would generate big sales. But others, including the UFC President White, have said Tony Ferguson deserves to face Nurmagomedov next. In fact, recently White relayed that he believes McGregor – Poirier 2 “makes sense”.
Well, in advance of Lee’s fight tonight with Al Iaquinta, the “Motown Phenom” was asked to weigh in on the state of the lightweight division. When asked about the proposed rematch between McGregor and Poirier, the lightweight contender had this to say (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“If Conor’s going to take a step backward and fight a man he already knocked out in the first round at 145 (pounds) – if he needs that steps backward to get himself feeling good again so that they can try and make some more money off him, then that’s on him,” Lee said.
“But I put Poirier in another category. He’s in the more ‘fun fight’ category with Nate Diaz and some of these older guys that are just out there to have fun. I’m out here chasing titles.”
How about that? Those comments, it should be noted, also followed Lee saying that he doesn’t view Poirier as a “serious competitor” at 155, which will no doubt annoy the latter’s camp and fans. Even if you don’t see Poirier as a legitimate threat to say, Khabib or Tony Ferguson, we are talking about a guy who just defeated Eddie Alvarez, and before that, Justin Gaethje and Anthony Pettis. That’s no easy feat.
But, in terms of the argument that fighting Poirier is a step back for McGregor, and a means to restore his drawing power, is Lee on point?
Clearly, since McGregor is coming off a loss to the champ, one could say that any bout is somewhat of a step back. Sure, if McGregor faced Ferguson next, then a lot of people would see that as a step sideways, if not forward, on account of the run “El Cucuy” has been on. But it doesn’t seem like that match-up’s very likely.
When you consider that McGregor is currently ranked #2 and Poirier is #3, from a ranking’s perspective, it’s a fight that makes plenty of sense. But, as Lee alluded to, since McGregor already took out Poirier back in 2014, it’s also a fight that seems less risky for the superstar, than say a rematch with Khabib or a fight with Ferguson. Many would also argue that Lee poses a bigger threat to McGregor than Poirier.
Of course, no one really knows right now if McGregor would be seriously interested in fighting Poirier again. It might happen, sure, but if McGregor insists on the UFC going another route, there’s a very good chance they’ll listen.