Saturday, January 22, 2022

Khabib: McGregor Needs To Finish Poirier In First Round To Win Trilogy

Khabib Nurmagomedov isn’t counting on Conor McGregor to survive in his trilogy bout with Dustin Poirier if the fight goes past the opening frame.

Khabib is well aware of what it’s like to share the Octagon with both McGregor and Poirier. “The Eagle” submitted both men, retaining the UFC Lightweight Championship in those fights. Nurmagomedov went on to defeat Justin Gaethje and then retired after improving his pro MMA record to 29-0.

Back in January, Poirier and McGregor had their rematch. McGregor had won their first meeting back in 2014. Things played out differently in the rematch as Poirier scored the second-round TKO finish.

The trilogy bout will play out on July 10 in the main event of UFC 264. During an interview with UFC Russia, Nurmagomedov expressed his belief that McGregor must get Poirier out of there in the opening frame if he is to have a chance at winning (h/t LowKickMMA.com).

“It’s the same thing as the previous fight (UFC 257). If it’s a first-round finish, I’d back Conor (McGregor). From the second (round) and further, Dustin (Poirier) wins.“

Nurmagomedov has turned his attention to coaching MMA’s future stars. One of them is Islam Makhachev. “The Eagle” said that many of the top-ranked 155-pounders haven’t done anything impressive as of late, allowing Makhachev to make his mark.

“There are many fighters at the top of the rankings who haven’t won anything for a long time. If Islam (Makhachev) wins in July (against Thiago Moises), he will have eight wins in a row and he will keep moving forward.“

The winner of Poirier vs. McGregor 3 could position themselves for a shot at the UFC Lightweight Championship. That title is held by Charles Oliveira, who defeated Michael Chandler to lay claim to his first UFC championship back in May.

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