Conor McGregor’s Coach: Dustin Poirier Is In For ‘Tough, Uphill Battle’
Conor McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, believes Dustin Poirier will have trouble getting over some mental anguish in his rematch with the “Notorious” one.
McGregor and Poirier are set to collide in the main event of UFC 257 on January 23. This will be a rematch from their September 2014 showdown. At the time, both men were competing in the featherweight division. McGregor scored the first-round TKO win.
A lot has changed since that fight. McGregor has become the biggest star in the UFC and he became a champion in both the featherweight and lightweight divisions. Poirier has grown as a fan favorite and is a former interim UFC Lightweight Champion.
As the rematch approaches, Kavanagh told The Mac Life that he doesn’t think the loss to McGregor over six years ago has left Poirier’s mind (h/t MMAJunkie.com).
“I think you can spend a lifetime going to sports psychologists and talking to this person and that person; that’s not going to have been erased from his mind. He knows that he is facing somebody who can shut off his lights very, very rapidly and now is a lot more powerful and a lot more experienced than he was even then, so it’s a tough, uphill battle for Dustin.”
Kavanagh admitted that he feels Poirier has made significant improvements but he thinks the mental warfare will win out.
“I think (Poirier) has definitely gotten better. There’s a few more takedown attempts now in his fights. I hadn’t seen it before – he has a good guillotine. We can see that. Then his volume and his conditioning is looking on point. You can see in his fights he has an ability to take a lot of punishment and still come forward. Pick any of last few fights to see that quality. However, he’s fighting a different animal than any of those guys: somebody with true, one-punch knockout power that he’s already felt.”