LIVE: UFC fighter will get ‘third eye’ after ‘nasty’ minimize
Conor McGregor was soundly crushed by Dustin Poirier lower than six months in the past. That does not appear to be sufficient time for the Irish famous person to patch all of the holes Poirier punched in his recreation.
After they full their rivalry trilogy Saturday evening (Sunday AEST) in the principle occasion of UFC 264, Poirier (27-6) enters the cage as a better-rounded, extra examined fighter than McGregor (22-5), who’s competing in combined martial arts for less than the fourth time in almost 5 years.
But McGregor’s famed punching energy — and the world‘s reminiscence of his meteoric rise by his sport — stay tantalizing sufficient to create uncertainty within the minds of thousands and thousands of battle followers. McGregor has achieved the unbelievable earlier than, and he’ll most likely by no means lose the power to stoke his followers’ imaginations.
“That is my bread and butter,” McGregor stated. “That is what wakes me up within the morning with hearth in my stomach. … I like to return in right here, defy the chances, do the unthinkable and placed on a present.”
That sounds considerably just like the previous Conor, the previous plumber who conquered the MMA world with two heavy fingers and an unmatched present of gab.
However will the identical man get out of his luxurious automotive at T-Cell Area? Can a self-described “fat-cat” multimillionaire return to his feral, ferocious kind for one more electrifying victory?
Poirier is aware of the likelihood exists, and it is purpose sufficient to look at the conclusion to this three-fight epic that started with McGregor’s first-round knockout of Poirier in 2014 and continued with Poirier’s second-round stoppage of McGregor in Abu Dhabi.
“I’ve a wholesome worry going into each battle,” Poirier stated. “I do know the risks. I do know what this man can do.”
The winner of the principle occasion will get the subsequent light-weight title shot towards champion Charles Oliveira, in response to UFC President Dana White.
UFC 264 is co-headlined by a bout between former welterweight title challengers Gilbert Burns and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. The pay-per-view card additionally features a heavyweight matchup between Tai Tuivasa and former NFL participant Greg Hardy, whereas the undercard is topped by welterweights Carlos Condit and Max Griffin.
Anybody who noticed UFC 257 final January is aware of how comfortably Poirier dealt with McGregor’s strengths. Within the rematch, McGregor should both do his factor significantly better, or he should adapt and evolve — one thing he hasn’t achieved efficiently over the previous 5 years.
Poirier highlighted weaknesses and exploited alternatives within the brash, pugnacious strategy that made McGregor the largest title in fight sports activities. Patiently implementing his recreation plan, Poirier battered McGregor with painful leg kicks earlier than ending him with fists, stopping the previous two-division UFC champion on punches for the primary time in McGregor’s profession.
McGregor had a strong first spherical on his toes, however he did it whereas utilizing a extra typical boxing stance, not the karate-influenced strategy that made him so unpredictable earlier in his profession. McGregor confirmed an incapability or unwillingness to verify Poirier’s leg kicks in that stance till later within the battle, which inevitably meant McGregor’s proper leg was crushed into painful uselessness.
McGregor’s coaches have stated he’ll regulate to the kicks, and he would possibly even dish out extra of his personal, as he did towards Nate Diaz a half-decade in the past. Bettering his aggression might result in extra counterpunching alternatives for McGregor, who thrives on them.
McGregor isn’t any stranger to crossroads moments, however this two-bout sequence with Poirier might outline what’s left within the exceptional profession of a fighter who turns 33 subsequent Wednesday.
If he loses once more, McGregor’s extra cogent supporters could be compelled to acknowledge he has change into extra of a spectacle fighter than a championship contender. He’ll by no means lack for big-time spotlights and keen opponents, however he additionally could be excused for retiring for a fourth time — and for truly sticking to it this time.
But when McGregor one way or the other wins, his subsequent bout could be for a title. He could be again in official competition for an honor that is not constructed on his previous achievements.
Poirier is taking his personal step backward to maneuver ahead: He might have waited for the title shot at Oliveira, who solely received the 155-pound belt in Could. As a substitute, Poirier agreed to this extremely profitable trilogy battle with the apparent threat of a loss that may derail his hopes of successful an undisputed title belt.
Even after McGregor baited and berated Poirier all through their ultimate information convention Thursday, Poirier is assured he made the proper choice to complete the duty of erasing one other swath of McGregor’s mystique.
“It is simply enterprise,” Poirier stated. “I see a person right here. … It is a battle, and I beat him (final time). What’s his excuse going to be on Saturday?”