Michael Bisping does not agree with John Kavanagh in regards to the UFC 264 main event, however, the UFC Hall of Famer believes a fourth fight between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor is very likely to happen.
In the third meeting between the rivals this past Saturday night in Las Vegas, Poirier came away with a doctor’s stoppage TKO win after McGregor stepped back and broke his tibia. As unfortunate as that moment was, it shouldn’t take away from Poirier’s first five minutes of the fight, earning a pair of 10-8 scorecards from the judges with dominant ground and pound over the majority of the stanza.
Following the bout, Kavanagh, the head coach of McGregor gave his assessment of the fight in an interview with Laura Sanko and it was clear that the way he viewed the first and only round of the fight was far different than most.
“I wasn’t concerned at all, I was actually really, really happy,” Kavanagh said. “And I knew what I was going to be saying between rounds. I was just going to tell him to keep doing what he was doing with the kicks and try to close a bit heavier this time. So we’d be looking to, rather than exchange punches, to slide back and left hand like he did on Aldo. Look for those kinds of techniques. Slide back left cross, slide back left uppercut, and kind of let Dustin fall into that kind of open space.
“At the 4:30 mark, everything’s gravy. Energy looked good, technique looked good. A few adjustments between rounds and I thought we were on track to getting a finish there or at least keep going, keep the rhythm going for the rest of the fight.”
Bisping, a former middleweight champion and current color commentator for the UFC, gave his thoughts on the fight and, more specifically, Kavanagh’s comments on the BT Sport post-fight show.
“When [McGregor] got up, yeah, of course, it was a very, very unfortunate ending—probably fortunate for Conor though, let’s be honest,” Bisping said. “Of course he [was] in the hospital, he [got] operated on. That’s not good.
“But in terms of Conor McGregor, in terms of the machine, the fan base that he has, and the narrative to twist the situation, just like his coach John Kavanagh has, he said, ‘Oh, I so nothing that concerned me. I knew that in the second round we would get the knockout. Nothing I was seeing there concerned me at all.’ If that’s true, John Kavanagh, Conor should fire you immediately because that was very concerning. You were on your back and you were getting dominated. It was a 10-8 round. That’s concerning. You don’t want to get your ass kicked, simple as that, and that’s what was happening.
“The leg kick was unfortunate but, as I said, it gives McGregor an excuse or a reason why the fight ended. But if that didn’t happen, I mean, come on, the odds of him turning that round and finishing Dustin in the second round—when Round 1 is supposed to be Conor’s best round—it wasn’t good. It was not a good performance.”
With Poirier now up two victories to one in the three-fight rivalry, most pundits believe “The Diamond” has proven he’s the better man and will go on to bigger and better things—most notably a shot at the lightweight title against Charles Oliveira.
Bisping agrees that should be Poirier’s move as well, but also feels quite confident that McGregor, who had successful surgery on his broken tibia on Sunday, is ready to come back, the two will lock up again even if Poirier is the champion.
“They will do a fourth fight,” Bisping stated. “I think, in the meantime, Dustin will go on, more than likely beat Charles Oliveira and become the champion, and then we’re gonna see the fourth fight for the belt.”