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UFC 178 fight card primer: Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier

Bloody Elbow presents a preview of UFC 178: Johnson vs. Cariaso in our fight card primer series. Here we look at Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier.

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

At UFC 178: Johnson vs. Cariaso, Conor McGregor (15-2 MMA; 3-0 UFC) faces Dustin Poirier (16-3 MMA; 8-2 UFC). This three round Featherweight fight is the third of five on the UFC 178 main card. The UFC Rankings have Poirier as the #5 contender at 145 pounds, with McGregor a bit below him at #9. UFC 178: Johnson vs. Cariaso airs live from Las Vegas this Saturday, September 27. The main card airs on PPV with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at  8:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and 7:00 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.

This is just a fantastically booked fight. On one side, you have McGregor - the self-declared "next big thing" in MMA who is on the verge of making that hype into reality. This is the fight that could launch him into contender status. On the other side you have Poirier, a fighter who was once in a very similar position, but has not yet quite made it to the very top. Again, a win here is huge for him. Stylistically, it's hard to imagine these two putting on a bad fight.

How do these two stack up?

McGregor: 26 years old | 5'9" | 73" reach
Poirier: 25 years old | 5'8" | 73" reach

What have these two done recently?

McGregor: W - Diego Brandao (KO) | W - Max Holloway (UD) | W - Marcus Brimage (KO)
Poirier: W - Akira Corassani (TKO) | W - Diego Brandao (KO) | W - Erik Koch (UD)

How did these two get here?

Conor McGregor made his UFC debut in 2013 after fighting primarily in his home country of Ireland. Immediately, he became a notable name, thanks as much to his loud mouth as his fighting skills. He's shown marked improvement every time out, and his July win over Diego Brandao had the feel of a star making performance. The key is, he needs to follow up on it, and this is the time. He's taking a real step up here, and he clearly has the confidence to succeed - here's where he proves it.

Dustin Poirier comes in as one of the most exciting fighters in the consistently exciting 145 pound division. In 2012 he was on the cusp of a title shot, but losses to The Korean Zombie (in one of the best fights of the year) and Cub Swanson slowed him down. He's 3-0 since, showing off his good striking and jiu jitsu and his aggressive game. Poirier is only 25 years old, so he still has plenty of career ahead of him, but if he wants to get into title contention, he needs to win a fight like this and not let the new big thing steal his place.

Why should you care?

Like I said, I can not possibly see this being dull.