Next weekend, Conor McGregor returns to the cage for the second time this year when he faces Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC 264. And ahead of this trilogy fight, one of McGregor’s closest training partners says that the former two-division UFC champion is much more prepared than in his last fight.
McGregor and Poirier first met back in 2014 with McGregor winning by first-round KO. Then, back in January, the two rematched but this time, Poirier got the better of McGregor, knocking “Notorious” out in the second round. Following his defeat, McGregor blamed the loss on the low calf kick that Poirier used effectively in their rematch, saying he was unprepared for that tactic and tipping his hat to Poirier. But McGregor’s teammate Artem Lobov suggests that the calf kick was just the result of a bigger issue for his friend: he was looking past Poirier.
“To be honest, it wasn’t like he wasn’t fully focused or anything, he just probably didn’t give Dustin the respect he deserved,” Lobov told BJPenn.com. “He was more thinking about boxing Manny (Pacquiao) after the fight and was getting ready for that as Conor saw that as the challenge and Dustin was just going to be a warmup fight. Obviously, it didn’t work out that way. Dustin did his homework and improved a lot.”
The loss was a potentially paradigm-shifting defeat for McGregor as it marked the first time the former champion had ever been knocked out in MMA. As a result, there was much speculation on what the cause of McGregor’s perceived drop off were, with many suggesting that McGregor doesn’t have the same fire as before now that he is massively wealthy. Others, however, blamed a stagnation in McGregor’s fight team and preparation as the reason the loss and suggested that McGregor should leave Team SBG Ireland, a suggestion that Lobov believes is ridiculous.
“Hold on, you mean leave the coach that helped him become the first ever two-weight world champion? You mean that coach?” Lobov said. “The coach that helped him achieve something that nobody has achieved before. Is that the coach you want him to leave? Come on now....
“We all talked about this. Sometimes Conor maybe wasn’t committed, wasn’t training as hard as he should have. We know what the issues are. It has nothing to do with the coaches. Now, he’s committed again, he’s training all the time, and he’s with the right people.”
McGregor seems to be in agreement with Lobov as he has shown no interest in leaving the team that helped him climb to the top and he has the chance to prove that team is the right one next weekend, and Lobov is confident he will do just that, knocking out Dustin Poirier and reminding the world who Conor McGregor is.
“To be honest with you, if you look at the second fight, it was developing how the first fight went,” Lobov said. “That is what I expected. The only thing that made a difference where the leg kicks. It wasn’t that he wasn’t training to defend leg kicks, but those kicks are very unique. When you spar in training and you wear shin pads you don’t feel those kicks and you lift your leg to check. However, in the fight, that doesn’t work anymore. Conor is now aware of that and I see the fight going how it already was going and the way the first fight went and I see Conor stopping Dustin early in this fight, I see Conor stopping Dustin in the first round.”
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
If @SugaSeanMMA needs an opponent I am ready and I will still fight Marlon in September!— Merab “The Machine” Dvalishvili (@MerabDvalishvil) June 29, 2021
I’ll be in Vegas that weekend! I can make 135 easy.. my opponent just pulled out for my June 26th fight!! I feel like I’m the guy.— Tim Elliott (@TElliott125) June 29, 2021
Closed mouths don’t get fed right? Put me back in coach I’m ready to go. https://t.co/oXyGTY0TPe— Ray Borg (@tazmexufc) June 29, 2021
I been had this whole shit shook up— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) June 29, 2021
Whos next pic.twitter.com/x8fOTNqvoG
Absolutely— tim means (@MeansTim) June 29, 2021
...And the Tap comes at 8:43, the WINNER by SUBMISSION (COWARDICE), and STILL UNDEFEATED, the BAD GUY,— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) June 29, 2021
Everyone knows me & @PatrickyPitbull are the No.1 contenders.— Peter Queally (@peterqueally) June 29, 2021
I understand why @PatricioPitbull wants me to rematch Patricky but wouldn’t be a bad idea to let us fight for interim title then figure out if he wants to defend or vacate depending on how fight goes. @ScottCoker https://t.co/hf8j7P6DPj
I was 36 & considered too old to be in this game. I will complete this journey at the age of 44 yrs.I didn't let my age or what others thought of me hinder how far I wanted to go in this sport. I refused to listen to those nay-sayers!— Marion Reneau (@BelizeanBruiser) June 29, 2021
THAT is my legacy! @ufc pic.twitter.com/sRwXwfoNIF
Trust in God and listen to your family. Drugs aren't worth your future. I wanna thank @MMAFighting for clipping this and sharing my journey to Instagram today because they have a big audience that could use the reminder that none of us are going through this alone pic.twitter.com/bDLewI9glf— Terrance McKinney (@twrecks155) June 30, 2021
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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