When Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor fought back in January, one of the main storylines heading into the bout was the different demeanor around McGregor. The sport’s most preeminent trash talker came into UFC 257 respectful and subdued, not there to play the dozens, just to win a fight. Then he got knocked out. So it’s no surprise that at the UFC 264 pre-fight press conference on Thursday, McGregor treated things much differently.
The former two-division UFC champion spent the bulk of the press conference returning to his old trash-talking ways and doing his level best to get under the skin of Poirier like he did in their first fight, calling Poirier names, bringing up his family, and dismissing Poirier’s win in January as a fluke. Following the presser though, it’s clear that it didn’t work.
“For me, smooth sailing,” Poirier told ESPN shortly after the press conference. “I felt like I saw a guy who is unsure of himself, scared, trying to hype himself up. I felt good.... I knew he was going to be acting crazy but to see him in the flesh, it just made me feel good because he is that little guy. Not that guy he used to be, I feel, or through my eyes, anyway.”
It had to help that Poirier, like many, predicted leading up to this fight that McGregor would attempt to go back to the well that served him so well during his build up to superstardom. But for Poirier, that well has run dry. The former UFC interim lightweight champion said that sharing the stage with McGregor on Thursday just reinforced his belief in himself.
“Just how crazy (he was),” Poirier said. “I feel like he has to work himself up to be that guy and I am that guy. I don’t have to do that, I know. If you had got close enough, you’d have seen it. That’s it. That’s just it. I know who I am. I don’t have to be crazy.
“It was kind of like that made him less powerful because he’s talking silly stuff about my wife, she’s my husband or something. Like, what the f*ck are you even talking about. He shouldn’t even be talking about marriages with the sh*t he’s out there doing.”
Though praised for his mental warfare early in his career, McGregor’s schtick hasn’t worked out as well for him in recent years and Poirier is particularly well-suited to deal with it. Poirier has been open about his loss to McGregor back in 2014 and how McGregor won the mental battle before they even stepped inside the cage. Following that loss, Poirier then reevaluated his career entirely and became a much better fighter in the ensuing years because of it. In contrast, McGregor has done his best to delegitimize Poirier’s win from January, and as they head into the rubber match on Saturday, Poirier believes McGregor should have taken a lesson from him.
“He’s doing himself a disservice by not reassessing everything and figuring out what really went wrong,” Poirier said. “That’s what losers do. They scramble to find something to stand on and that’s what he’s doing.”
Poirier and McGregor face off for the final time in the main event of UFC 264 this Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena, in Las Vegas, NV.
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Desperately trying to get something to stick.
Me and the hubby walking into the press conference❤ pic.twitter.com/EnOKnFFBW2— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) July 9, 2021
Your wife wants to see the hair around my dick and balls bro. See what that’s like. It’s real the message request mate, no trash talk. Man to man, it’s fucked up! I seen your interview with Mike you think it was fake. It’s not.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) July 9, 2021
Have a think on it in the sauna anyway.
Dustin came out on top of that presser no?! 10-8?!— Al Iaquinta (@ALIAQUINTA) July 9, 2021
Dustins wife is his husband nonsense?! SMH.
.Connor is overplaying his own character and it's painful for my ears— Nordine Taleb (@TNT83MMA) July 9, 2021
Agree bro. I'm undefeated then. -Best boxer in the UFC, baby https://t.co/wfrJfYwaOB— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) July 8, 2021
Wait… so apparently I retired undefeated https://t.co/kPM1anmBQV— Paul Felder (@felderpaul) July 8, 2021
Alcoholic hallucinosis from drinking cheap whiskey until 3:39am https://t.co/BApwKfskzQ— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) July 8, 2021
Never dim another man shine to shine brighter #supernecessary— Jorge Masvidal UFC (@GamebredFighter) July 9, 2021
Such trash talk.
Here’s some New York trash talk- Suck a https://t.co/9RfJAxOiB8— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) July 9, 2021
Sean called me and said it’s me that he’s calling out. I hope he doesn’t, I’m really scared. https://t.co/Uvidn1CUig— Ricky Simón (@RickySimonUFC) July 9, 2021
It’s always rough to watch someone try to recapture the magic of a bygone era. McGregor out here tilting at windmills in the worst ways. If he gets got again on Saturday, it may be a rough time for him on these internet streets.
Thanks for reading, enjoy the fights, and see y’all on Monday.
Alright, final answer: who wins?
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