UFC 257 was a card built around two lightweight fights: Michael Chandler vs. Dan Hooker in the co-main event, and Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier atop the card.
In the end, both fights delivered.
Chandler stormed out of the gate to start his UFC run, putting Hooker on the outside early, stalking him, and eventually setting up a crushing left hand with a body shot. Hooker was done the moment he hit the ground, though the ref decided to let the carnage continue for another strike or two.
Post-fight, Chandler cut a fiery promo, putting the division’s top players on notice. Referring to himself as the new King in town, he then turned his focus to champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, suggesting that if “The Eagle” did return, he’d need someone to beat — “so beat me if you can!”
While Khabib announced his retirement following UFC 254, the promotion has left his status as champion in place. Looking to lure him back to the octagon for one last fight, and a chance to go 30-0.
In the main event, not to be outdone, Dustin Poirier weathered the storm from the returning Conor McGregor early. In round two, he chopped away at McGregor’s legs, slowed his movement, and knocked the former double-champ out. That win evened their career series at one fight a piece. It also puts Poirier in a difficult spot: if Khabib sticks around, it’s unlikely he’ll want to face Poirier for a second time, after making short work of him not too long ago. With that in mind, either Chandler or Charles Oliveira appear to be in the running for the Khabib sweepstakes.
In any event, both Poirier and Chandler are $50,000 richer thanks to Performance of the Night bonuses. With no Fight of the Night awarded, Makhmud Muradov, for his TKO of Andrew Sanchez, and Marina Rodriguez, who also scored a TKO win over Amanda Ribas, also picked up Performance of the Night awards.