UFC 257 gets underway this weekend with the headline return of Conor McGregor against Dustin Poirier – seemingly on damage control with pushing a strong PR image, McGregor certainly seems like a very different man.
The loud trash talking is largely gone, and a much more respectful approach is being fronted, even with a huge promised $500,000 donation to Dustin Poirier’s charity which aims to help those struggling in his home city.
Even after nearly five years away from the sport, McGregor continues to be one of the biggest names, but there had been a lot more attention paid toward the now retired champ, Khabib.
There have been a lot of questions around what the undefeated champ would do following his victory over Justin Gaethje back in October – following the loss of his father and coach who had been present at all of his fights, Khabib had made a promise to his mother that he would step away from professional mixed-martial arts, and that’s exactly what happened as he would lay down his gloves and announce his retirement following the victory.
Although retiring, there was no official statement saying that the belt had been vacated and no indication that an interim title was either on the line or to be handed over, so there had been a lot of hope that he would return – with reignited hopes over the past few days after a meeting with UFC boss Dana White suggested that some spectacular performances this weekend in the lightweight division may encourage him to come back again, although still with plenty of uncertainty.
This weekend may be more than just a proving ground for McGregor’s comeback or a platform for Dustin Poirier to gain another win, as it could ultimately lead to the next fight which will crown a new lightweight champion – bookmakers are already betting on this too as odds at https://www.bettingsites.ng/ already have McGregor as the favourite given his previous victory back in 2014, but a lot has changed between then and now and this could certainly be a very different fight, and certainly with very different stakes too.
There’s still a lot of uncertainty around the division and pundits suggest it’s most likely that Khabib won’t return and so this could be the quick path to UFC gold, and with the other fight on the main card being another big contender in Dan Hooker, it’s certainly shaping up to be a four way battle for the next champ, and with recent results in mind, there’s no clear leader in who could turn up champ.