McGregor will attempt to avenge his UFC 257 loss to Poirier when they face off for their trilogy rubber match on July 10 in Las Vegas.
In their January rematch, the Notorious was knocked out for the first time in his career, leading many to believe that he’s lost a bit of his old mojo. McGregor was also uncharacteristically cordial with Poirier in the lead up to the fight, refraining from the vicious trash talk that preceded their first encounter in 2014, and was once his signature.
In fact, the respect McGregor afforded Poirier bordered on the bromantic, no more so than when graciously accepting the American’s gift of hot sauce at the faceoff, before warmly embracing him.
McGregor is now the world’s highest paid athlete, and he lives like it. Pictures of the 32-year-old driving exotic cars, sailing the Mediterranean on mega yachts, and flashing expensive watches are all regular staples on his social media.
Like many fans, Michael Bisping believes McGregor is a victim of this stratospheric success, his burning desire to win at all costs now diminished by his millionaire lifestyle.
“The Conor McGregor of old is just like the me of old. It doesn’t exist anymore,” he told talkSPORT.com. “I’m a nice guy, I’m a pussy cat, but I used to be a bit of a nightmare. With Conor McGregor, it’s the same thing. The man’s loaded. He’s pulling up on $100million yachts and got million dollar watches. He gets chauffeured in Rolls Royces. [Former boxing champion] Evander Holyfield said ‘it’s hard to get out and run at 6 AM when you’re sleeping in silk sheets.
“Fighters, we’re hungry and want to turn it around. Maybe we’re cut from the same type of cloth or the wrong side of town. We like to fight and that’s our only hope. The dream is to make some money and turn your life around, he’s done that in a big way and he’s never going to go skint. That’s not an insult, that’s just the reality of the situation. It doesn’t mean he can’t go out there and have a great performance and win, because he can. It’s going to be a tough fight though.”
Michael Bisping Admires McGregor’s Courage But Gives The Edge To Poirier
Whether McGregor still has the same fire burning within or not, he’s likely only a victory away from regaining the lightweight belt he captured in 2016. The victor of Poirier-McGregor 3 is the odds-on favourite to challenge newly-crowned champ Charles Olivera next, a sentiment Bisping shares.
“Whoever wins that fight should certainly go on to fight for the belt,” Bisping continued. “They are the most high profile in that division and are ranked high enough – Dustin was an interim champion and Conor is a former champion.”
And while Bisping stopped short of predicting who’ll win, he gave the psychological edge to Poirier.
“Any time one person has beaten the other one, it makes the third one special. I think the psychological battle goes to Poirier, though, as he just knocked him out. I respect Conor McGregor for stepping in there like that. I’ve been knocked out in this sport before, the next time you fight there’s some psychological demons there. Conor is stepping in straight away against the person who knocked him out cold. I admire his courage there.”
What do you think? Is the old Conor McGregor gone for good? Or will he make a return against Poirier?