Conor McGregor eager to compete again after UFC 257; wants trilogy fight with Dustin Poirier

Conor McGregor, UFC

The weekend before last at UFC 257 we saw the return of the former two-division champion, Conor McGregor (22-5). McGregor was competing for the first time in over a year and for the first time since his brief retirement in 2020.

In the main event of UFC 257, McGregor had a rematch with Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC). The two had previously fought back in 2014 and McGregor had knocked Poirier out in the first round. However, since then, Poirier has been much more active inside the octagon.

The fight started out well for McGregor. He won the first round on all three judges scorecards, and Poirier admitted that McGregor stunned him in the first. However, Poirier was doing damage that was adding up.

Poirier was peppering McGregor’s lead leg with leg kicks. McGregor was failing to properly check the kicks and the damage was really adding up. In the second round, McGregor’s leg completely wobbled from a kick and Poirier swarmed.

A few massive shots put McGregor down and Poirier walked away the winner at UFC 257. Since then, we haven’t heard much from Conor McGregor. Well, today he posted a lengthy Instagram post where he went through the fight and discussed what’s next.

Will the UFC do the trilogy next?

“I enjoyed racking up some more time inside the famed UFC Octagon,” McGregor said. “40 seconds in 3 years is all I’d had up to this bout. I was savoring every second and enjoying my work. A little single disciplined in my approach and stance with mostly boxing.”

The former UFC champion continued, “I deserved to get the legs kicked off me going in with this thinking. This is not the game to play around with. Besides this tho my shots where sharp and I was in full control. Albeit the leg attacks where building up on me throughout the course. 18 in total thrown at me, with the final one buckling my leg fully, that was that.”

“First time to experience it. Then a tremendous finishing flurry by my opponent. Hats off! A well fought fight by The Diamond. 1 a piece now with a Trilogy bout for all the marbles! Wow! Exciting!”

It’s clear that McGregor wants the trilogy with Poirier for his next outing. Right now, Poirier has said that he wants either McGregor, Nate Diaz (20-12), or Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC) for his next UFC bout.

Both Nate Diaz and Charles Oliveira have said this is what they want as well. There are three viable options for Poirier. From a rankings perspective, Oliveira is the fight that makes sense. However, Diaz and McGregor are the money bouts. It’ll be interesting to see what the UFC decides.

Dan Hooker wants to be in sync with his team before his next UFC fight

It’s been a little over a week since the lightweight showcase at UFC 257. Of course there was all the attention in the world on the main event, but the co-main event was so intriguing to fight fans and incredibly important for the lightweight division.

Michael Chandler (22-5) was making his UFC debut and he wasn’t getting a layup. The promotion gave Chandler, Dan Hooker (20-10) for his first fight. Don’t let the record fool you, Hooker is one of the best lightweights in the world.

Hooker struggled early on in his UFC career because he was killing himself to make featherweight. However, when he made the jump to lightweight, he’s shown he’s one of the very best in the world.

Prior to UFC 257, Hooker was 7-2 at lightweight and held wins over Gilbert Burns, Al Iaquinta, and Paul Felder. Hooker was coming off of a loss to Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC), but the fight was razor close. Had Hooker won that fight, he might’ve been the one fighting Conor McGregor (22-5).

Nevertheless, Hooker was tasked with welcoming Michael Chandler and it didn’t go as planned for Hooker. Hooker really never got a chance to get going as he was caught with a massive left hook that put him down in the first.

It was the first time Hooker had lost by TKO when the shots were to the head. A frustrated Hooker threw down his UFC gloves after the fight and many wondered if he was done. However, he recently told Submission Radio that he’s not done fighting and laid out his future timeline.

UFC return for Dan Hooker

On throwing his gloves, Hooker said, “Yeah, you’re always frustrated after a loss. In that moment, I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m done, I’m finished with this sh*tty sport!’ Then you get back to the hotel and realize you’re not good at anything else.”

Hooker had a great attitude and was laughing about what happened at UFC 257. The top lightweight contender seemed to be taking it in stride knowing that losses are just a part of the game.

When asked about his UFC return, Hooker said that he’d like to get synced back up with his team. Normally, his team at City Kickboxing is all training together for a fight. However, everyone has had different schedules and because of that, Hooker didn’t even have his head coach at UFC 257.

“I get pretty jealous watching all the boys on the same card or roughly fighting around the same time. (After) They bang out these fights in March then they’ll look to get back in there two or three months later, it’ll be cool to get back in sync with them,” Hooker said.

With that, it appears that Hooker is targeting a late spring or early summer UFC return. I’m so glad to see Dan Hooker being so positive after UFC 257. He’s still one of the best in the world and I’m looking forward to seeing who the promotion matches him up with next.

Michael Chandler is becoming the UFC’s new ‘Yes Man’

Last Saturday at UFC 257, Michael Chandler (22-5) finally made his debut with the world’s premium MMA organization. Chandler spent the majority of his career at Bellator where he became a three-time lightweight champion.

He was always considered one of the best in the world, but with him not fighting in the UFC, many didn’t give him credit. At UFC 257, he made his debut against Dan Hooker (20-10). Stylistically, this was a very tough matchup for Chandler.

Hooker is a sensational striker, incredibly tough, and he’s tough to take down and keep down. Not too mention the fact that he’s very tall for the weight class and uses his kicks and knees extremely well to keep distance.

There were questions around if Chandler could get in range to hit Hooker or even take him down. Well, at UFC 257, Chandler answered all of the doubts emphatically. Chandler put Hooker out and he did it with his striking in the first round.

Michael Chandler is an elite wrestler, but he’s scored three straight first round knockouts on the feet. He’s got ungodly amounts of power in his hands to go along with his elite wrestling skills. He proved he’s going to be a problem in the UFC‘s lightweight division.

The UFC’s New Company Man

Michael Chandler has made it clear from the jump that he’s there to be a company man. That’s why he was willing to be the UFC 254 backup for the promotion. Chandler traveled to Fight Island, quarantined, and made weight despite not fighting.

He was also willing to take any opponent in the UFC’s top six for his first fight regardless of the style. For that reason, he’s already becoming a favorite of Dana White. Dana White said he knew within seconds of talking to Chandler that he wanted to sign him when he was a free agent.

A couple of days ago, Chandler posted on his Instagram Story that he received a call from Dana White. Chandler said in the post that he’s happy to be the UFC’s new yes man. We can likely draw the conclusion that the promotion asked him about a potential fight.

With how quick the debut was, Chandler will likely get turned around quickly. No telling who Dana White was offering Chandler on the phone, but we know when the UFC calls, Chandler is going to say yes. For that reason, he’s going to become a quick favorite of the promotion and the fans.

UFC: Justin Gaethje says he would ‘smoke’ Nate Diaz

Justin Gaethje (22-3) had his eyes on the TV Saturday night watching UFC 257. The PPV was a huge night for the lightweight division and in the main event we saw the rematch between Conor McGregor (22-5) and Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC).

In the co-main event of UFC 257, we saw Michael Chandler (22-5) make his debut against Dan Hooker (20-10). With incredible performances, Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler both scored knockout victories on Saturday night.

Watching the action got Justin Gaethje excited for his return. The former interim UFC lightweight champion has been waiting for last Saturday before thinking about what he wants to do next.

Gaethje sat down with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto this week and talked about everything that’s been going on with him. He said that the UFC had approached him last week about his next fight, but he wanted to see how UFC 257 shook out.

Now that he’s seen the action, Gaethje is ready to go. Gaethje said that he would fight anyone who is a top contender in the division and he knows it will take a win to get another title shot.

The Highlight made it clear that he wants a top three guy in his next fight, but he will make an exception. That would be for the one and only Nate Diaz (20-12). On a potential UFC bout with Diaz, Gaethje said he would happily accept it.

Will the UFC book Diaz – Gaethje?

“If they call me to fight Nate Diaz, I’m fighting Nate Diaz. I will roll him up and smoke him like a blunt. I can out smoke Nate Diaz any day of the week. It’s not something I’m proud of, but he thinks he’s Mr. 420. I’d roll him up and smoke him,” Gaethje told Okamoto.

I’m not going to lie, I think all UFC fans would be pumped for a potential matchup between Gaethje and Nate Diaz. When the UFC was talking about Diaz’s lightweight return, I figured Gaethje was a name that they were discussing.

However, Gaethje said that there’s been no talks on that fight yet. The UFC’s lightweight division is so exciting right now and Justin Gaethje – Nate Diaz might be one of the most fun matchups that could be made. It’ll be interesting to watch this one play out.

Does Julianna Pena deserve a title shot after UFC 257?

This past weekend at UFC 257, Julianna Pena (10-4) took on Sara McMann (12-6) on the prelims. After losing the first round, Pena performed very well on Saturday night and ended up pulling off a rear-naked choke in the third round.

It was a big win for Julianna Pena and the win put her at sixth in the UFC‘s bantamweight rankings. However, the headlines weren’t surrounding the performance. The headlines were around the post-fight interview.

After the fight was over, Pena called out the UFC‘s two-division champion, Amanda Nunes (20-4). Pena said that Nunes was ducking her and that a fight between the two women needed to be made.

Nunes immediately clapped back on Twitter saying, “Ducking? You couldn’t even make yourself a contender for me.” The notion that Amanda Nunes is ducking Julianna Pena is completely ridiculous and the callout didn’t make sense from that perspective.

I completely understand calling out the UFC champion. However, the reality is that Nunes has never dodged Pena. In fact, Nunes is correct in that Pena has lost both of her title eliminator fights that would have earned her a shot. So after her win at UFC 257, does Julianna Pena deserve the next shot?

A UFC title shot for Pena?

The simple answer her is no. Julianna Pena’s win at UFC 257 does not warrant a title shot. We can’t forget the fact that Pena was just put to sleep by Germaine De Randamie (10-4) a few months ago.

Julianna Pena is 2-2 since 2016 and neither one of those wins came against top five competition. That resume doesn’t warrant a shot at the UFC bantamweight title and the greatest of all time in Amanda Nunes.

For Pena to get a title shot, she’s going to need to beat someone in the UFC’s top five. However, I will say that nobody in front of her would make for a more compelling matchup against Nunes.

Nunes has already defeated de Randamie twice and she knocked out Holly Holm (14-5). The two most compelling contenders outside of Holm and de Randamie are Pena and Aspen Ladd (9-1). Ladd is currently recovering from a knee injury.

I think the best play for the UFC is to pair up Holm against de Randamie for the second time. In addition, they should book Pena against Aspen Ladd. The winner of Ladd and Pena would provide a compelling new challenger for Amanda Nunes. However, to be clear, Julianna Pena shouldn’t jump the line.

Is the UFC booking Poirier – McGregor 3 next?

Last weekend at UFC 257, we got to see the highly anticipated rematch between Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) and Conor McGregor (22-5). Both men had their moments in the fight, but just like the first one, this fight didn’t go the distance.

After losing the first round, Poirier really started to do damage to the lead leg of McGregor in the second. Eventually, Poirier kicked McGregor’s calf to the point where his leg seriously buckled. Once Poirier saw McGregor hurt, he never let up.

Poirier pushed McGregor against the fence and unleashed a combination from hell. Eventually, he connected on a right that sat McGregor down and gave him the victory at UFC 257. Arguably the biggest win in the career of Dustin Poirier.

After the fight, Dana White said that it didn’t look good for UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0), in terms of coming back. White said that Poirier would get the next shot at the title.

Dana White said that he’d love to see Poirier fight Michael Chandler, however, Poirier wasn’t interested. In the UFC 257 post-fight press conference, Poirier said he’s mainly thinking of three guys: McGregor, Nate Diaz (20-12), and Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC).

McGregor’s head coach came out this week and said that McGregor wanted the trilogy for the title in April or May. While it seems a little off, is that what the UFC is going to end up doing?

What will the UFC do?

Would there be an ounce of my body that would be surprised if Poirier – McGregor 3 is next? No, because the UFC is a business and that fight would do massively well. Especially considering a title would be attached to it.

Both men want the trilogy and both men have knocked each other out. While it would be a massive fight, I’m not sure it makes the most sense for the lightweight division.

Then again, I can’t see Oliveira getting the shot at Poirier because that fight wouldn’t sell well. The UFC has several options for Dustin Poirier. However, the one fight that would sell the least is a fight with Charles Oliveira.

After hearing Poirier’s comments and comments from the McGregor camp, I would not be shocked at all to see the trilogy get made next. I personally think McGregor and Diaz should fight next, but the promotion might want to capitalize on the heat of the moment between McGregor and Poirier.

What’s next for JoJo Calderwood after UFC 257?

This past Saturday at UFC 257, Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (15-5) took on Jessica Eye (15-9, 1 NC) on the PPV main card. Both of these flyweight contenders had a lot on the line on Saturday night.

Whoever won this fight was going to be in a position where they could get a top five opponent next. However, a loss would put them way back in the UFC flyweight division. Calderwood had a lot to prove on Saturday night.

Originally, JoJo Calderwood was supposed to get a UFC title shot back in June of last year. However, Valentina Shevchenko injured her knee and the fight was scrapped. The promotion offered to allow Calderwood to wait for the title shot.

However, Calderwood wanted to stay active. She said that she didn’t want a lengthy layoff leading into her first UFC title shot. With that in mind, she took a fight against Jennifer Maia. She was submitted in the first round and as a result, lost her UFC title shot.

At UFC 257, she had the chance to get back on track and that’s what she did. Over the course of three rounds, Calderwood used her effective kicks and knees to keep Eye at range. She mixed up her shots well and was able to walk away with a unanimous decision victory.

What’s next after UFC 257?

As mentioned, Calderwood was supposed to get a title shot last year. With this win at UFC 257, I think she’s right back near that conversation. However, she’s going to need one more win to get that shot at the title.

In looking at the rankings, I believe there are a couple of matchups that make a lot of sense for Calderwood. For Calderwood’s next fight, I would pair her up against either Katlyn Chookagian (15-4) or Lauren Murphy (14-4).

Both of those contenders are near a title shot, however, we already know that Jessica Andrade is getting the next crack at the UFC title. Chookagian and Murphy should honestly fight, however, Murphy doesn’t seem interested in that matchup.

I think the promotion should put Calderwood against one of those two contenders with a title shot on the line. Again, Calderwood was supposed to get the shot before Shevchenko was hurt. She still deserves to be in the conversation.

If the UFC pairs up Calderwood with one of those two, the winner would be in a great position to challenge the winner of Shevchenko – Andrade. It’ll be interesting to see how this situation at flyweight plays out.

After losing at UFC 257, what’s next for Jessica Eye?

This past Saturday at UFC 257, we saw a bit of a grudge match in the flyweight division. Former top contender, Jessica “Evil” Eye (15-9, 1 NC), took on Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (15-5).

This fight between top contenders was going to be big for the UFC‘s flyweight division. Both ladies were entering this contest off of a loss so the winner would move back towards the top while the loser would really get shuffled back.

Eye and Calderwood had a very entertaining bout at UFC 257. For the most part, these two ladies stood and traded over the course of three rounds. Throughout the fight, Eye just appeared to be a step behind JoJo Calderwood.

Calderwood was able to use her kicks and her knees to really keep Eye from getting going on Saturday night. In the end, the judges unanimously gave the fight to Calderwood.

Jessica Eye was leaning on her boxing a little too much at UFC 257 and it cost her. She never really got any momentum going and was out of range when it comes to significant strikes most of the night. The former title challenger has now lost two straight.

What’s next after UFC 257?

In 2018, Jessica Eye moved to the UFC’s flyweight division. Finally, it appeared that she would be fighting in her natural weight class after struggling for years in the bantamweight division.

Right away, it looked like Eye belonged. In 2018, Jessica Eye went 3-0 which included a win over Katlyn Chookagian. Those wins led her to UFC 238 where she earned a shot at the champion, Valentina Shevchenko.

That is where things were derailed a bit. Eye was completely outclassed by Shevchenko and was knocked out cold in the second round by a headkick. Eye was able to bounce back at UFC 245 when she beat Viviane Araujo by decision.

However, 2020 was a rough year for Jessica Eye. She dealt with some health issues outside the cage and lost a decision to Cynthia Calvillo. That was her only fight in 2020 and now she’s just lost her first fight of 2021. After these losses, Eye has gone from first to eighth in the rankings.

So what does the UFC do with Jessica Eye? In looking at the rankings, I think a good next opponent for Jessica Eye would be Roxanne Modafferi (25-18). Modafferi just lost on this trip to Fight Island.

However, Modafferi is 3-3 in her last six fights. Her wins have come against Antonina Shevchenko, Maycee Barber, and Andrea Lee. Her losses have all come against some of the better flyweights in the UFC.

A matchup between these two ladies makes sense from a rankings perspective and it makes sense just looking at where they are currently at in their careers. Not sure if this is where the promotion goes, but it’s the fight that makes the most sense to me.

After her knockout loss at UFC 257, what’s next for Amanda Ribas?

Going into UFC 257, Amanda Ribas (10-2) was riding a ton of momentum. She was unbeaten with the promotion and her infectious personality allowed her to be easily marketable for the UFC.

If she was able to win on Saturday, she was expected to receive a huge push from the promotion. However, Marina Rodriguez (13-1-2) had different plans for UFC 257. Rodriguez is known as one of the best and most powerful strikers in the strawweight division.

For Ribas to win on Saturday, she needed to lean on her grappling skills. In the first round of their fight, that’s what she did. Ribas was able to land a takedown and she controlled Rodriguez for the majority of the round.

However, in the second round, there was no urgency to get the takedown. Instead, Ribas seemed comfortable and was willing to trade with Rodriguez. This proved to be a major mistake.

Within the first minute, Rodriguez landed a huge right hand as Ribas was coming in. Ribas crashed to the floor and at the 54 second mark of the first round, Rodriguez derailed the UFC hype train of Amanda Ribas.

What’s next after UFC 257?

This was a bad loss for Ribas at UFC 257, but it wasn’t something that will completely derail her career. She had entered Saturday night 4-0 in the UFC, however, Rodriguez was going to be her first really dangerous opponent.

Yes, she had a win over Mackenzie Dern, however, that was after a lengthy layoff for Dern. We also know that Dern isn’t a striker like Marina Rodriguez. While it is a setback, Ribas is fully capable of bouncing back from this loss.

So what comes next after her UFC 257 loss? In looking at the strawweight division, I think there are a few options for Ribas. One option would be Angela Hill (12-9) who is currently ranked 12th in the division.

Hill was the victim of two razor close split decision losses in 2020. Had those gone her way, she would’ve been riding a five-fight winning streak and she would have been a contender for the UFC title in 2021.

Another option for Ribas would be Tecia Torres (12-5). Torres has won two fights in a row after losing four straight. This has her ranked ninth in the division just one spot ahead of where Ribas is.

The last option I have is a matchup against thirteenth ranked Virna Jandiroba (16-2). Any of those three would make great opponents for Ribas and they are all inside the top 13. Get a win over one of those and they hype train gets moving again.

UFC 257 fallout: Did Conor McGregor lose his killer instinct?

Conor McGregor, UFC

This past Saturday at UFC 257, the world got to see the highly anticipated rematch between Conor McGregor (22-5) and Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC). The two had fought in 2014 and McGregor won by first round knockout.

This fight was drastically different. While McGregor did have success, Poirier’s improved durability and overall skills really showed. In the second round, Poirier was able to put together a massive string of shots and put McGregor away to even the score.

After UFC 257, I’ve heard some people talk about McGregor’s killer instinct in the cage. There’s been a narrative that McGregor didn’t have that dog in him when he was fighting Poirier and that is one of the reasons he lost.

Josh Thomson was the first to mention it on his podcast, Weighing In, with Big John McCarthy. Thomson said that when you’re at the stage of happiness that McGregor is at, it’s hard to have that killer in you like you do when you’re on the come up.

When McGregor first came on the scene in the UFC, he had nothing to his name. He was on welfare and he briefly worked as a plumber. McGregor was just a kid who wanted the world and that’s what he got. He achieved everything he’s ever wanted in this game.

What happened at UFC 257?

Heading into UFC 257, I don’t think we’ve ever seen a more dedicated version of McGregor from a training perspective. He looked to be in incredible shape and you could tell he was fully prepared for the fight.

In the first round, the former two-division UFC champion saw some success. He landed some very big shots on Dustin Poirier and all three judges gave the first round to McGregor. Poirier admitted that McGregor hurt him with shots on the feet, but McGregor didn’t press forward.

I’ve rewatched the fight probably ten times at this point. There were three times where I could see McGregor hurt Poirier at UFC 257. Twice in the first round and once to open the second round.

When McGregor hurt Poirier, he didn’t press forward at all looking for a finish. It was almost as if he was point fighting or going through the motions as if you were sparring. There was no urgency to finish the fight at UFC 257. Now, maybe some of that had to do with the questions around his cardio.

While McGregor was landing cleaner shots on the feet, Poirier was chipping away at McGregor’s lead leg. Eventually that damage added up and aided Poirier in securing the second round finish.

I can see where Thomson is coming from as well as other media pundits who’ve said McGregor’s lost that edge. Some fighter’s need that edge to perform at their absolute best. Maybe McGregor is one of those guys.

I think we will really get our answer in McGregor’s next UFC fight. There were a lot of things that went into that loss, but I think the main credit is with Dustin Poirier. Now if Conor McGregor comes back in May/June and starches his next opponent, you’ll hear crickets from the critics. Time will tell on this one.