(Pocket-lint) - UFC fans love a good trilogy. From Liddell vs Couture to Silva vs ‘Rampage’ Jackson, there’s nothing quite like fighters in their prime stepping into the Octagon in search of that deciding win.
And at UFC 264, former UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor will look to round off this seven-year rivalry with a win over former interim UFC lightweight champion Justin Poirier.
It’s one of the most anticipated fights of the year, and it serves as the main event of an already stacked card that features the likes of Sean O’Malley, Stephen Thompson, and Irene Aldana. Here’s why you should be watching UFC 264.
When does Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier 3 start?
UFC 264 takes place on 10 July 2021 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The main card will kick off at 10pm ET, after the prelims at 8pm ET. Before that, it's the early prelims at 6pm ET.
How can I watch Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier 3?
The entire show will be best caught through ESPN+, which will let you watch the entire card, from the early prelims right through to the main fights, in one place and with continuous coverage. It's the best way to catch what should be a rollercoaster of a night.
Why is McGregor vs Poirier 3 such a must-watch fight?
While there isn’t a title on the line for this bout, the outcome will shape the career of both men going forward. With former lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov having vacated the lightweight belt through retirement, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier opted to face McGregor over a title shot to further cement his position as the #1 contender.
Some might argue that Poirier doesn’t need to give McGregor another high-profile match-up – after all, he beat the ‘Notorious’ Irishman only six months ago at UFC 257 – but the phantom of his 2014 featherweight KO loss to him still looms on his record. Beating McGregor decisively and winning the trilogy would finally dispel any doubts.
What's on the line for Conor McGregor?
For McGregor - once the king of this and many other weight class divisions in the UFC – there’s more than just a win in the balance this time (as well as a potential to insert himself back into the lightweight championship picture).
He soared to the top of the game in MMA in the early 2010s, coming from relative obscurity to dominate headlines and attention with his brash performances in press conferences. Of course, he was also backing those up with top-level victories.
However, that's not the picture at present. ‘The Notorious’ McGregor hasn’t beaten an elite opponent since his dismantling of Eddie Alvarez in 2016. And while he does have a win over journeyman Donald Cerrone, that 2018 loss to Khabib and his recent loss to Poirier in January means the former two-division champ needs a decisive win or risk tainting his legacy as one of combat sports biggest exports.
After all, this is the man who just a couple of years ago had the reputation of being one of the world's fiercest fighters - this is a key opportunity for him to reclaim the sort of fear factor he had after conquering competitors like Nate Diaz and Diego Brandao.
What’s the full card for UFC 264?
UFC 264 might have a stellar main event with the third entry in the McGregor vs Poirier trilogy, but the rest of the card is packed with potentially explosive bouts. Here’s everything you need to know on the main card, the prelims, and early prelims.
Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier (Lightweight) – Both Poirier and McGregor lost to the now-retired Khabib, but The Diamond has a bit more momentum going into his non-title fight that will shape the future of both fighters, the division, and the UFC lightweight championship.
Gilbert Burns vs. Stephen Thompson (Welterweight) – Burns looks to shake off his loss to dominant UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 258, but standing in his way is kickboxing legend and division mainstay Thompson who looks to carve his own path to another title shot.
Tai Tuivasa vs. Greg Hardy (Heavyweight) – Both Tuivasa and Hardy found fame in other sports before entering MMA (Tuivasa in rugby league and Hardy in the NFL) and while Tuivasa is on a two-win streak, Hardy needs to shake off his loss to Marcin Tybura back in December 2020.
Irene Aldana vs. Yana Kunitskaya (Women’s Bantamweight) – While Amanda Nunes still reigns supreme over the division, two top-five ranked fighters look to improve their chances of a title shot. Mexican star Aldana looks to bounce back from a 2020 loss to Holly Holm, while Russian Kunitskaya heads into the fight with a two-win streak.
Sean O’Malley vs. Kris Moutinho (Bantamweight) – Sean ‘Sugar’ O’Malley has moved on confidently from his only professional loss back in 2020, and his second fight of 2021 sees him face off against relative newcomer Moutinho (who stepped in at short notice to replace an injured Louis Smolka).
Carlos Condit vs. Max Griffin (Welterweight)
Niko Price vs. Michel Pereira (Welterweight)
Ryan Hall vs. Illia Topuria (Featherweight)
Dricus du Plessis vs. Trevin Giles (Middleweight)
Early preliminary card
Jennifer Maia vs. Jessica Eye (Women’s Flyweight)
Omari Akhmedov vs. Brad Tavares (Middleweight)
Zhalgas Zhumagulov vs. Jerome Rivera (Flyweight)
Alen Amedovski vs. Hu Yaozong (Middleweight)