Dan Hardy believes Dustin Poirier has extra to lose from his primary occasion bout with Conor McGregor at UFC 257 and that defeat will not be an choice.
Nevertheless, ‘The Outlaw’ believes Poirier is greater than able to ruining the Irishman’s return to the octagon after an absence of greater than 12 months.
McGregor knocked out Donald Cerrone in simply 40 seconds again at UFC 246 final yr, earlier than driving off into the proverbial sundown to retire as soon as extra.
Nevertheless, he’s again and seemingly extra pushed than ever and is planning on knocking out Dustin Poirier as soon as once more on Combat Island in a rematch of their 2014 bout.
‘The Diamond’ has since admitted he was too emotionally invested throughout their featherweight grudge match, along with his stellar file since transferring to light-weight a chief instance of the maturity and improvement he has proven as a fighter.
However defeat will surely depart the Louisiana-native in an uncompromising place and Hardy instructed talkSPORT.com a defeat would hardly take the shine off of McGregor’s star energy.
He stated: “Actually, it’s not likely going to impact Conor as a result of he’s sort of bullet-proof to it! He’s a famous person in his personal proper and he might lose thrice this yr and in the beginning of 2022 individuals would nonetheless wish to watch him combat.
“It’s his type, it’s his charisma…if Poirier loses, it’s unlikely he’s going to get to a title shot with out having to undergo 4 different lightweights and there are some killers on this division.
“He doesn’t wish to be coping with the likes of Gregor Gillespie or Islam Makhachev – they’re horrible fights for him. So he must preserve himself on this prime elite pool and the one means to do this is to beat McGregor.”
Technically, Poirier is without doubt one of the most full fighters within the 155lbs division along with his slick fingers complimenting the wrestling expertise he has honed on the American Prime Crew fitness center in Florida.
If there may be maybe one weak spot in his arsenal, it comes when going through southpaw counter-punchers; not solely did McGregor render him unconscious within the first spherical, it took Michael Johnson even much less time to spark him out chilly in 2016.
Whereas the 31-year-old could effectively have labored on his defence to stop McGregor’s notorious left hand from breaching his guard as soon as once more, Hardy believes the most important problem might be engaged on his psychological preparation.
“It’s going to be an enormous problem,” he added. “That first 90 seconds for Poirier is a constant wrestle for him in his fights, he appears very tense.
“Michael Johnson knocked him out in about 90 seconds, Gaethje damage him a couple of minute into the combat so Conor is leaning on that.
“There aren’t plenty of psychological video games occurring proper now, however simply that little nugget of ‘I’m coming for him within the first 60 seconds is definitely going to place Poirier on the defensive.
“As a result of that’s the largest problem, I don’t assume Poirier is technically missing in something – this isn’t an unwinnable combat for him. It’s positively a winnable combat, however he must be cautious and strategic.
“The hazard of the low kick, and that is far more of a technical factor, clearly Conor is a southpaw so more often than not he’s preventing orthodox fighters.
“So after they throw kicks to his lead leg, they’re leaving themselves proper into the centre line and on this state of affairs he’s preventing one other southpaw which suggests it’s a lot simpler for Poirier to get his head off the centre line when he’s throwing his kicks and perhaps not leaving himself proper down the pipe for the left.
“It’s definitely a winnable combat for him; it’s simply that 90 seconds.”
If logic suggests McGregor’s greatest probability is to complete the combat early, then this principle extends itself within the different course. Fairly merely, the later the combat goes; the better Poirier’s odds develop into on exacting his revenge.
Hardy, who has since established himself as among the best analysts within the sport since retiring from his days as a UFC welterweight, believes Poirier should flip the combat right into a ‘dogfight’ to get the victory however stay cautious of McGregor’s underrated floor sport.
He added: “Poirier simply appears to get extra sturdy because the combat goes on and he will get extra relaxed and extra assured.
“He will get minimize up and scratched and that sort of stuff, however when you take a look at the way in which he fights and the way in which he brings his shoulders up and squares up, plenty of the time when he’s being punched it lands on his shoulders.
“So he’s not likely taking plenty of harm and plenty of it’s superficial and Conor will not be the kind of fighter to depart you with superficial cuts and bruises.
“He’s a one-punch knockout man. So it’s actually nearly staying away from that left hand and making an attempt to get it right into a dog-fight as a result of Poirier is a war-monger.
“That’s what we noticed within the Hooker combat, it’s what we noticed within the Gaethje combat. I’ve not seen that in Conor and I’m saying he doesn’t have it, however I’ve simply not seen it.
“And I feel if Poirier goes to win this combat, he’s received it make it ugly and get in his face to make it scrappy as a result of it’s sort of his signature.”
He continued: “I feel the one factor that everybody is neglecting is the actual fact his [McGregor] floor sport is constantly evolving. I feel that it’s uncared for for the truth that he by no means gravitates in direction of that until he’s pressured to.
“You then put him in there towards Khabib and everyone seems to be like, ‘Oh yeah he received taken down.’ However everybody will get taken down by Khabib, even guys which were wrestling since they had been six like Justin Gaethje.
“I really assume Conor’s takedown defence in that combat regarded wonderful; after I see nice takedown defence, it is just ever coupled with an excellent higher offence.
“You don’t simply work takedown defence, you’re employed in your wrestling sport and also you additionally perceive the offensive type higher.
“So I anticipate Conor to have a a lot improved floor sport – the way in which he threw that left hand at Cowboy in these first two seconds suggests he wasn’t bothered about getting taken down!
“However then the shoulder strikes was a brand new side to his sport which we’ve got seen earlier than – Jon Jones and Tito Ortiz used to make use of them again within the day – however nobody has damaged fighters mentally with it.
“There are positively different sides to Conor’s sport which I don’t assume he has been pressured to indicate but. The query is, if it goes previous the second spherical within the Poirier combat, what different sides are we going to see?
“As a result of if he does begin to decelerate, Poirier goes to power him to work more durable and he may shoot like he did towards Nate Diaz.”
BT Sport Field Workplace will present UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 solely reside from 3am on Saturday 23rd January. UFC 257 could be watched on on BT TV, Virgin TV, Sky, on-line by way of the net or the BT Sport Field Workplace App and is available for purchase at www.bt.com/sportboxoffice