Conor McGregor is taking a break from yacht racing. This week reports surfaced of the superstar’s interest in his next fight. As usual, McGregor broke all news cycles when he released a private conversation he and president Dana White had. Initially, the optics suggested that the Irish superstar was just trying to stay relevant in the news. But after a private word with Dustin Poirier, it appeared he had a genuine interest to return. McGregor praised the fighter’s philanthropic efforts in regards to The Good Fight Foundation. Once both athletes agreed to fight, the UFC got involved. In this Mcgregor versus Porier early look we examine the evolution and who likely gets the victory.
Mcgregor Versus Poirier Early Look
Mcgregor and Poirier first met at UFC 178 in 2014. The Irishmen dusted Porier in the first round by knockout. At the time, McGregor’s striking looked unstoppable. Fast forward to 2020, and we have seen a full account of both athletes. Intrigue is peaking for their evolution and both get the chance to audit each other’s skills if the fight comes to fruition. Firstly, many believe the weight cut to 145lbs hindered Porier’s chin in their first meeting. On the other hand, the Louisiana native is far more active than McGregor. Since 2016, Poirier has competed eleven times (over double McGregor in that time) with two losses, one to the reigning lightweight king, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
McGregor’s Octagon Control/Pressure
McGregor uses octagon control so effectively that the pressure forces opponent’s into a multiple-choice problem. The “Notorious” exemplified this control in their first bout by pressuring Porier behind the black lines. Once a fighter is behind those black lines, their defensive options become limited. For example, against McGregor, once Porier is behind the black lines that limit his ability to move backward. Considering the length of Mcgregor’s left hand, going backward is not as viable, and going forward is high-risk. Additionally, lateral movement is available, but circling into McGregor’s left is downright dangerous. To summarize, McGregor’s left-hand power, combined with his aggressive octagon control is key to attaining victory.
Poirier’s Fight IQ and Wrestling
At American Top Team, Porier has sharpened his stand-up and honed his wrestling skills. The former interim-LW champ can slickly change stances while in the middle of a combination. However, against a distance striker like McGregor, this won’t be a game-changer because shifting in the pocket takes too long. Ironically, one of Poirier’s ideal routes to victory is using octagon pressure like McGregor did in their prior bout. Stay locked into this McGregor versus Porier early look to get some insight on who enters the bout with an edge.
There’s no secret McGregor struggles on the ground. Every fight he’s in is prefaced with the idea of taking him down for an easy win. Looking closer at Porier’s performance against Anthony Pettis, he double-legged him in the first two minutes. Most of the MMA scene understands that pressure and wrestling is Pettis’s kryptonite. Even though McGregor’s struggles are the same, he put up a great show of grappling defense against the champion. Unable to keep Pettis down early in round one, I worry Poirier will lack the technique and commitment to keep him down as Nurmagomedov did. Despite the evolution of Porier’s overall game, this McGregor versus Porier early look favors the “Notorious”.