Like many, Bisping has offered his thoughts ahead of the UFC 264 pay-per-view, which will be headlined by MMA’s biggest superstar and “The Diamond.” Poirier, a former interim 155-pound champion, will be looking to secure his second victory over McGregor this year, having become the first man to knock out McGregor on Fight Island in January.
Meanwhile, the Irishman will hope to have made the necessary adjustments and fixed the holes in his game ahead of July’s first card. Having been picked apart by a flurry of devastating calf kicks in the pair’s second fight, McGregor will be desperate to avoid sustaining the same level of damage in the early moments of the trilogy bout.
But while many have been willing to offer a clear prediction for the highly anticipated trilogy, Michael Bisping has been more cautious in his approach, refusing to count McGregor out ahead of next Saturday’s PPV.
In an interview with Helen Yee, “The Count” said the fight is too difficult to predict. That’s despite many suggesting that McGregor hasn’t had enough time to address the issues that led to his last defeat.
“Listen, I respect what Conor’s doing, you’ve gotta respect Dustin as well. It’s going to be a tremendous fight and it could go either way.”
The 42-year-old added that if he had to, he’d edge towards Poirier taking the win, given how their rematch at UFC 257 earlier this year ended.
“Who does it favor? Right now, it would have to favor Dustin. And the reason I say that is because, well, they just fought, and Dustin just knocked him out. Of course, coming into this they’re one (win) apiece, but when Conor knocked out Dustin, that was a long, long time ago…at 145 (pounds) of course, so the ability to take a shot for Dustin is a little more improved,” said Bisping.
But the fighter-turned-commentator warned that the UFC’s first-ever simultaneous two-division champion can never be counted out.
“Who knows. They’ve both knocked each other out, they both have tremendous skills. I think, because of the momentum, because of the recent knockout, maybe you lean towards Dustin, but you can never underestimate Conor McGregor, as we know.”
Michael Bisping also explained the courage it must have taken for McGregor to agree to fight the man who knocked him out less than seven months ago, especially without having fought a lesser opponent in-between.
“But I gotta say, I respect Conor here. Listen, I know a lot of people (criticize) some of his antics whatever, I can’t say anything because, my god, my antics were out of control. But you’ve gotta respect what he’s doing here because, I know personally, to walk back into an Octagon and fight somebody that just knocked you out, knocked you out cold and left you on the canvas, to fight that person again immediately afterwards without getting a tune-up fight, you know, without getting a warm-up fight against somebody a little bit lower to boost your mojo to get your confidence back, that takes a lot of balls. So, you’ve gotta respect what Conor’s doing here.”
On July 10, Poirier and McGregor will stand face to face for the third time in their careers. In front of a sold out Las Vegas crowd, their rivalry will come to a blockbuster conclusion inside the T-Mobile Arena at the top of what could be the most successful UFC PPV of the year.
Who do you think ends the trilogy on top at UFC 264?