If anybody knows a thing or two about both trilogies and rivalries, it’s retired former two-division champion Daniel Cormier. He ended up on the wrong end of a trilogy against Stipe Miocic and was involved in one of the most heated feuds in UFC history with Jon Jones. As the man who will hold down commentary duties at UFC 264, it’s only right that the fighter-turned-commentator offers his take on the third fight between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor.
The suggestion that this is a must-win situation for McGregor was quickly swatted away by Cormier during a session with reporters following Friday’s weigh-in.
“I want to say it’s a do-or-die in this situation, but I was reminded very recently that is not because it’s Conor McGregor,” Cormier said. “Even if he loses Saturday and fights another guy and goes and fights Nate Diaz a third time, say he goes and wins a fight against a guy like RDA or something, he’s right back in the title picture because he will hang around the title picture as long as he’s in this sport.”
McGregor has only gone 3-3 since departing the UFC featherweight division in 2015 after an astounding run of 7-0 with six knockouts. But it hasn’t necessarily hurt his star power as his rubber match with Poirier is almost certain to be the biggest pay-per-view of 2021. Should he lose, there are other profitable matches to be made. However, that’s absolutely not the route McGregor wants to go.
Instead, the Irishman is seeking to get back to his winning ways and it has been suggested that his abandonment of the Mr. Nice Guy role is an effort to become the McGregor of old. The trash talk has come fast and furious from McGregor as Poirier has refused to engage in another war of words. But Cormier doesn’t think there’s much to McGregor’s antics.
“I honestly don’t think (the trash talk) matters that much,” Cormier told Sporting News. “I think that’s one of the most overstated things in the whole build-up to the fight – nice Conor vs. angry Conor.”
Cormier’s rivalry with Jon Jones saw both fighters take part in mudslinging before they met in the Octagon. Although Cormier does believe that mind games can have an effect on a fighter, he believes that none of this will have a bearing on what version of McGregor we’ll see inside of the Octagon.
“How much different is he going to fight?” Cormier continued. “He’s going to fight. When he gets in the Octagon he’s going to fight to the best of his abilities whether he’s mad or whether he’s happy. I didn’t like the build-up to the last fight with Conor holding his hot sauce and him holding Conor’s liquor.
“This is more fun but it’s ultimately going to come down to who is better on the night. So manufacturing hate, being angry, hating the guy or not, it doesn’t matter.”
But Cormier does believe that McGregor finds more comfort in these moments where he’s riled up.
“Some people do better in the chaos,” he said. “Real emotion can hinder you. It happened to me (against Jones). But for Conor, this is exactly what he wanted.”
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