Poirier, the former UFC interim lightweight champion, believes there could be hidden motives behind McGregor (22-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) publicly accepting a rematch with Poirier (22-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC). Poirier has followed recent news closely, and with talks of a potential McGregor vs. Manny Pacquiao boxing bout, Poirier thinks a rematch between him and the Irishman makes complete sense.
“Going back to why I think he wants this fight, it’s because he’s angling to fight Pacquiao. That was in the news,” Poirier said on “THE FIGHT” with Teddy Atlas. “So I don’t know if the UFC wants him to fight one more time before they allow him to fight Pacquiao or if he just wants to get one more this year before starting next year with the Pacquiao fight, but what better way to do it against another southpaw?
“I think that might be his mind set. He wants to fight another southpaw before he fights another southpaw. I don’t know what’s going on, but I think that’s what the alignment is.”
It’s uncertain how serious McGregor-Pacquiao talks might be, but McGregor is no stranger to stepping into a blockbuster boxing match. In 2017, McGregor fought Floyd Mayweather in one of the most lucrative bouts in combat sports history.
Poirier also thinks McGregor’s interest in fighting him could have something to do with the UFC lightweight title. After all, Poirier is one of the top contenders in the division, and a rematch could very well produce the next title challenger.
“Kahbib (Nurmagomedov), the current champion, said that if Conor or Tony fights me and wins then he’ll give him another title shot, so that’s in his head too,” Poirier said. “I think that’s creating a perfect storm, and it’s coming together that he’s coming out in public and saying, ‘Hey, I want to fight Dustin Poirier this year.’”
Either way, Poirier is determined to change the outcome of the first encounter with the former two-division UFC champion. McGregor stopped Poirier in the first round back at UFC 178 in 2015. Poirier is confident a rematch with McGregor would turn out differently.
“I’m not going to go in there and fight with anger,” Poirier said. “I’m going in there and fighting with skills. My last few fights I just felt something different happening in the lead-up to the fight. It was less pressure. In a weird way I care less.
“I cared too much before. I cared too much, and that blinded me, and I got in the way of myself. I care, but not like I used to. It’s hard for the average person to understand, but it’s important for me to keep that mindset. I’m going to be all right. Whatever happens I’m going to be all right.”