McGregor might have to go back to basics if he is to reclaim his place at the top of the sport
It is always dangerous to look too far ahead in combat sports. Upsets are more likely to happen if a star fighter overlooks an opponent, as a bigger payday looms on the horizon.
That appeared to be what happened on the UFC’s Fight Island in January, when Irish megastar Conor McGregor was KO’d for the first time in his career by the previously unfancied Dustin Poirier.
With McGregor having already beaten Poirier back in 2014, the two are now set to settle their trilogy on the 10th of July in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Here we break down whether McGregor will refocus and get his revenge, or if his MMA career is brought to end by one of the UFC’s true road warriors.
Inactivity No Excuse This Time Around
McGregor gave Poirier all the props in the world for defeating him in January but, fighters being fighters, the Irishman could not resist coming up with a few excuses for his loss.
The main one of these was his inactivity, having only contested 40 seconds of a fight since Oct 2018. After his January war against Poirier, and the relatively quick turnaround between it and the rematch, McGregor will have no excuses related to octagon rust come July.
Are Mind Games of Old Required?
In the lead-up to their first encounter in 2014, Poirier admitted to being overawed by the occasion, and of being in the shadow of a man riding the crest of an Irish wave of support, much of whom had confidently placed big bets on their man to be victorious. All that changed at the Fight Island, as both men were perhaps a little too courteous, something which tipped the UFC/MMA betting odds in the American’s favor, allowing him to prepare for battle with a clear mind.
With McGregor fired up for their rematch, maybe it is time for the Notorious One to get back to his trash talking ways so that the tipsters and odds makers are once again touting him as the man to beat.
Caption: McGregor was accused of slacking during his sparring in the lead-up to his shock defeat
Nurmagomedov is Gone, Which Could Benefit McGregor
Another factor that could help the Irish star take revenge is the fact that pound-for-pound number one, Khabib Nurmagomedov, has officially retired. This should prevent McGregor from looking too far ahead, as well as convincing him that only a stellar KO win could tempt Khabib out of retirement for one last lucrative payday.