Despite whatever changes the Irish superstar may implement into his training camp, retired UFC legend and former McGregor rival Khabib Nurmagomedov expects the trilogy to feature the same intangibles as the last fight back in January.
According to Nurmagomedov, the best chance McGregor has to beat Poirier is to get off to his signature fast start where he’s demolished a number of opponents in the opening round.
If the fight goes beyond that initial five minute session, however, the undefeated Russian believes the scales will tip decidedly in Poirier’s favor.
“Once again, same thing here — the first round is for Conor, he can take it,” Nurmagomedov said when asked for his prediction on the fight by UFC Russia. “If he doesn’t [win in the first round], then Dustin [Poirier] wins.”
In their most recent meeting, McGregor did have a fast start as usual, but Poirier was able to fend off his best punches while doing a lot of damage with a series of crippling calf kicks.
By the time the second round started, McGregor was struggling to put weight down on his lead leg as Poirier continued to chop away at his foundation.
Eventually, Poirier started to go back up top to the head, which then led to the knockout as he exacted his revenge from their first fight when McGregor finished him by knockout in the opening round.
Now the lightweights will look to settle the score once and for all, and Nurmagomedov obviously believes the dynamics surrounding the fight are just the same.