Ireland’s favourite sporting icon Conor McGregor returns to the octagon this weekend to face number two lightweight contender Dustin Poirier for the second time in his career, with his eyes set on recapturing the division title.

We take a look at the match-up in detail and preview the best odds for fight night.

McGregor in 60 seconds?

There’s nothing quite like the anticipation of a Conor McGregor fight week. Never in history have we seen an MMA/UFC athlete with such crossover mainstream interest as the two-weight UFC champion.

Already considered an all-time great mixed-martial artist, McGregor has bolstered his brand with successful businesses in the fitness, whiskey, and fashion spaces, while a one-off boxing fight with ‘Hall of Famer’ Floyd Mayweather took his name global in 2017.

Let it be known – Conor McGregor is not a gimmick. Between 2013 and 2015, McGregor’s UFC record was an unblemished masterpiece, taking on seven bouts in the featherweight division from his company debut all the way to the UFC title, ultimately dispatching long-time reigning champion Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds.

Since then, he has captured the lightweight division title, fell short to pound-for-pound number one Khabib Nurmagomedov in attempt to retain his belt (becoming the first fighter to win a round against Khabib in the UFC), and made his comeback in January 2020 against Donald Cerrone, another sub-60 second knockout performance.

It’ll be just over a year on since ‘The Notorious’ last set foot in the octagon, and he is expecting another explosive performance, speaking to media during the week, saying: “I will knock out Dustin in less than 60 seconds.” You can get McGregor to win the fight in round one at 2/1.

A motivated Conor McGregor is an exciting prospect, and the history maker has his eyes set on UFC gold in 2021, while coach John Kavanagh says: “Conor is only at 50% of his potential. That is a scary thought.”

Can we finally expect to see the ‘season’ of fights that the Dublin-born brawler has been promising us?

Poirier needs to take the fight deep

Dustin Poirier is one of the seven aforementioned former featherweight foes of McGregor, but this fight takes place over six years on from their first meeting, and both men have sinced proved themselves to be world-class athletes.

Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez, Max Holloway, Anthony Pettis and Dan Hooker – former champions and top contenders alike – have all fallen to the sword of Poirier over the last three years, with his only loss in that period coming against the undefeated Khabib.

Both Poirier and McGregor boast outstanding striking skills, while Poirier has been shown to have a chin of granite, not least in his last bout with Hooker, with the pair taking unimaginable punishment during their five-round spectacle in June of last year.

Can the American take the left-hand of McGregor? It remains to be seen how the Irishman’s power carries in his new and improved lightweight frame, and whether Poirier’s chin can handle those repetitive blows, but if he can take the fight into the later rounds, the chances will be there to pick McGregor off as he comes forward more laboriously. Poirier to win by KO/TKO/DQ has been enhanced from 9/2 to 6/1.

Make no mistake, a win for McGregor on Saturday would make a huge statement to the division given what Poirier has shown over the last few years, and could set Ireland’s favourite fighter on a collision course to glory in 2021.

McGregor to win outright in the bout is 3/10, while Poirier is priced at 5/2. McGregor to win by KO/TKO/DQ is 4/7.

Check out all the latest UFC betting odds at William Hill