LAS VEGAS — For higher or worse, the “old” Conor McGregor is again.
After two fights the place the notoriously boisterous Irishman confirmed respect for his opponents, McGregor returned to his outdated methods forward of his rubber match with Dustin Poirier. He put these antics on full show on the UFC 264 press convention. After showing to show over a brand new leaf in opposition to Donald Cerrone and Poirier with a well mannered strategy, the McGregor that took the sports activities world by storm returned and pulled no punches within the build-up.
However is that this perspective adjustment for Poirier or McGregor?
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Ever for the reason that trilogy battle was set for July 10, McGregor has ramped up the trash discuss. At first, it appeared comparatively innocent with the standard barrage of insults. However issues took a sinister flip previously week as McGregor dragged Poirier’s spouse, Jolie, into the fray. By the point the 2 fighters hit the stage Thursday, McGregor’s temperament had reached a full boil.
After throwing a bottle of Poirier’s scorching sauce into the group, McGregor charged towards his opponent as UFC president Dana White and occasion workers frantically tried to tug the fighters aside. After a skirmish was prevented, McGregor — decked out in a purple go well with and sun shades — launched one verbal grenade after one other in an try to rattle Poirier.
“Your wife is your husband, you’re only a little b— of a thing, a silly little hillbilly,” McGregor said before getting the pro-McGregor crowd to begin chanting along with him. “Jolie’s spouse, Jolie’s spouse, Jolie’s spouse!”
McGregor did everything from calling Poirier “Buster Douglas” for what he deemed a fluke win in January, to threatening to pull his opponent’s head off his shoulders Saturday night.
To his credit, Poirier remained cool under fire. Unlike their first meeting, Poirier refused to allow McGregor to see that any of his words affected him. Instead, he picked his spots to return fire. When asked why he thought McGregor’s attitude changed for this fight, Poirier said, “As a result of he bought knocked the f— out.
“Not McGregor fast, McGregor sleep.”
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It was a well-known sight for the Irishman’s followers in addition to for White, who has had a front-row seat to the McGregor present from floor zero to current day.
“Listen, I think that every version of Conor that has shown up over the last several years is always different,” White stated. “He does what he’s got to do.”
However is that this what he has to do? Is that this the one option to discover the “old” Conor McGregor contained in the Octagon? Phrases can’t battle for you, however they positive can stir issues up. Nevertheless it actually feels as if McGregor is trying to discover himself greater than stepping into Poirier’s head.
“For me, the aura is not there anymore,” Poirier stated. “Very dangerous fighter sitting right here, for sure. No doubt. But I see a man. You guys in the crowd, cheer it up — have fun. But I see a man sitting here in front of me that I have defeated and I know I can defeat again.”
It actually looks like McGregor is chasing a excessive that he skilled earlier than and acknowledges that he wants that additional adrenaline rush to carry out on the peak of his powers. Even when it doesn’t have the identical impact on his opponent that it did when he defeated Poirier over six years in the past, it brings McGregor again to a time when he dominated the MMA scene out and in of the Octagon. There was mutual respect in January, however McGregor clearly has no intentions of sharing that stance within the third battle. As for Poirier, he sees proper via the antics and refuses to stoop to his opponent’s stage.
“I do (respect) him,” Poirier stated regardless of every part that was stated. “I don’t hate anybody up here. I’m at a different place mentally, man. Respect to him and everything that he has done.”
Maybe that’s what McGregor must function at his full potential. It’s unknown if the barrage of insults and private assaults can have any impact on Poirier getting into the trilogy battle. However the ingredient of discovering familiarity and settling right into a consolation zone appears to be very actual.
And with the stakes as excessive as they’re for Saturday’s battle, each little benefit issues.