The two lightweight stars are set to complete their trilogy in the pay-per-view’s headliner on July 10. The pair met for their rematch earlier this year at UFC 257, six-and-a-half years after their first encounter back at UFC 178.
Their rivalry currently sits level at one win apiece after Poirier avenged his 2014 loss on Fight Island in January. Having attacked and damaged McGregor’s lead leg, “The Diamond” took control in the second round and became the first man to knock the Irishman out in MMA.
The question on everyone’s lips now is: Can McGregor make the necessary adjustments ahead of the trilogy fight?
Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, who’s also competing on the PPV card, has pointed to one element of McGregor’s game that he must adapt if he is to come out on top come July 10.
In an interview with Submission Radio, the two-time title challenger suggested that McGregor needs revert to a style that worked for him in the past.
“I think he (Conor) kind of lost something in his last fight. I think it was all the boxing that he was doing. He doesn’t have that movement anymore that you normally saw. Like when he fought Jose Aldo, it was the movement that won him that fight. And he was kind of standing there in front of Dustin Poirier, and he took a lot of low calf kicks, and that’s what settled it, sealed the deal.”
Thompson added that if McGregor can return to the striking prowess that brought him to two UFC titles, he can defeat Poirier for a second time.
“So, he’s got to get back into moving like a karate guy. He’s got to get back into getting on his bike, using that in-and-out movement, switching sides, playing that game if he’s going to go out there and beat him again. Because he can draw out Dustin Poirier’s strikes with his movement. And him being such a good counter puncher, (he) can counter off of that. So out of the two, Conor’s got to get back to that. So, don’t know how hard that is and how long he’s been doing the boxing stuff, but he’s got to get out of that and get back to his movement. If he can do that, Conor can win.”
Thompson should have a decent view of the blockbuster trilogy fight. He’ll face fellow 170-pound contender Gilbert Burns in the UFC 264 co-main event. The 38-year-old will look to make a final push for UFC gold with a win over “Durinho.”
Do you think McGregor can beat Poirier at UFC 264?