The history of the UFC will never be accurately told without repeated mention of Conor McGregor. He’s arguably the most important figure to ever step in the octagon, yet Saturday’s UFC 264 trilogy bout with Dustin Poirier may serve as his most defining chapter.
UFC 264 takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Tickets for the event sold out in minutes, meaning it’s now only available to stream on ESPN+ pay-per-view, the exclusive home of the biggest UFC events. Prelims start at 6:00 p.m. ET and are followed by the main card at 10:00 pm ET, which is headlined by the third fight between McGregor (22-5 MMA, 10-3 UFC) and Poirier (27-6 MMA, 19-5 UFC).
No one can take away McGregor’s accolades. He’s the only Irish champion in UFC history, was the organization’s first simultaneous two-division titleholder, and has headlined the five highest selling pay-per-view events of all-time.
Inactivity has plagued “The Notorious” in recent years, however, as UFC 264 will be just his sixth fight in the past five years. The turnaround from his TKO loss to Poirier in their second meeting at UFC 257 in January is his quickest since 2016, and there’s massive pressure to deliver.
McGregor’s star power in the fight game has, realistically, outgrown wins and losses. There will always be an audience keen to see him compete, but if he wants to get back to the championship-level fighter he once was, avenging his defeat to Poirier and winning the series between them is critical.
McGregor is not ignorant to that fact, either. The 32-year-old knows how much is on the line at UFC 264, and he has the utmost confidence it’s going to be his moment to shine. McGregor’s legacy is already undeniable, but he’s hungry to add more to the resume.
Ahead of the UFC 264 trilogy fight with Poirier, which is available exclusively on ESPN+ pay-per-view, McGregor spoke to Rolling Stone about his mindset and expectations going into fight night.
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Rolling Stone: Trilogy fights have been a cornerstone of combat sports for decades, be it in boxing or MMA. This one is particularly special because of how the first two bouts ended. As someone who appreciates the history of fighting, what does it mean for you to be involved in something like this?
Conor McGregor: It’s thrilling. I’ll break records on the PPV. I know that’s the expectation. I’ve been in big fights before, and it’s always electric, and this one will probably be the biggest so far. Having fans there this time is going to add even more to the atmosphere. So, I’m truly so excited, and I’m going to put on a show.
RS: How important is winning this trilogy to your legacy? Not only to have the edge over Dustin in the series, but also because a victory likely sets up a title fight vs. Charles Oliveira.
CM: Any man that fights me three times, God bless them. After I steamroll my opponent, I’ll decide what I want next.
RS: You’ve preached the importance of activity, and now you get your quickest turnaround between MMA fights since 2016. How will it benefit your performance?
CM: I’m always better when I’m busy. I always say that. So, it’s going to help. When I’m active, I’m fresh, I’m dangerous, and I’m hyper-focused.
RS: Where does your opinion on Dustin Poirier stand right now? Do you feel he’s acted improperly in the build to this fight? You guys were friendly in Abu Dhabi, but there seems to be much more tension for this fight.
CM: He talks some amount lately which he will pay for; it’s not going to be nice. I’m going through my opponent on July 10th.
RS: Give me the ‘Mystic Mac’ prediction: How does the fight end?
CM: I’m going to knock him out. Without question. I’m the most dangerous I’ve ever been, I’m the most focused I’ve ever been. And I’m going to take him out. He won’t have any way to deal with what I’m bringing on Saturday, and that’s it.