Conor McGregor notched a TKO victory over Dustin Poirier in 2014.
Seven years later, Poirier returned the favor and recorded a TKO victory of his own in January.
The two will meet for a trilogy fight Saturday and look to put a stamp in this rivalry.
However, seeing Poirier in the Octagon for the last time might not be the only “lasts” for McGregor.
If he loses, the 32-year-old McGregor hopes of ever becoming champion again will have vanished. It’ll probably be best if McGregor walks away from the sport for good.
McGregor would have lost three of his last four fights — all by stoppage (if Poirier stops McGregor again). His lone win was against an old and washed Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
The Irish superstar has yet to dominate like he once did since he took his hiatus from the UFC to venture into boxing.
That has been the obvious reason for McGregor’s decline in the UFC.
In his 2017 boxing match against Floyd Mayweather, McGregor made over $100 million, which was more than what he made prior in his entire UFC career.
Why subject yourself to elbows, knees, chokes, kicks and punches in an Octagon when you boxed and made 10 times more money?
Since returning to the Octagon, the former UFC two-division champion’s last three fights have averaged a base purse of $3 million. (In comparison, superstar boxers average at least $10-20 million per fight.)
It’s only natural to conclude the hunger, the passion and the drive hasn’t been the same since McGregor cashed in on nine-figure checks.
On the contrary, a win could set up a title shot
Poirier is currently ranked at the No. 1 lightweight contender in the UFC. McGregor is ranked fifth.
A win over the top-rated contender would logically set up a chance at current UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira and the opportunity to win back the belt he won in 2016.
However, knowing the way UFC president Dana White runs things, it’s no guarantee McGregor gets that title shot should he beat Poirier. White has been known to put McGregor in his place and make it known even the UFC’s biggest star doesn’t call the shots. It’s Dana White.
Who knows? Former interim champion and No. 2 ranked lightweight Justin Gaethje gets the shot at Oliveira before McGregor does.
McGregor can still draw crowds
If he loses, McGregor will fall further down the UFC lightweight rankings. This makes the road to a title shot even longer, which will force him to wait at least another year.
McGregor turns 33 in a few days and isn’t getting any younger.
The UFC pay-per-view king can still draw crowds and generate revenue even if he’s not facing elite competition.
Given the money he’s made boxing and selling his Proper Twelve whiskey brand for nine figures, McGregor is set financially and probably isn’t turning to the UFC for substantial paydays.
It’s just hard to think McGregor would step in the Octagon if he weren’t competing for world titles.
If Saturday night ends in a loss, we can all just appreciate what McGregor did for the sport and the thrills he gave fans worldwide. And it’s okay if this is the end. McGregor will be remembered as the biggest star the to ever step in the Octagon.