Former UFC interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier knows he needs to be careful in the early rounds of his upcoming fight with Conor McGregor.
Poirier and McGregor will collide in the main event of UFC 257 this Saturday in Abu Dhabi. The pair’s lightweight showdown will be a rematch of a 2014 featherweight fight that McGregor won by first-round knockout.
Heading into the rematch, McGregor is forecasted another quick win, this time predicting he’ll knock Poirier out in less than a minute.
Poirier, however, isn’t worried.
He knows from experience how dangerous McGregor is early, and is focused on staying out of danger in those phases of the fight.
“When we’re dry early, he has all the pop and the spring still in his step,” Poirier told MMA Junkie ahead of the fight. “(He’s) very dangerous. Good thing it’s a 25-minute fight, and I feel like I’ve matured and developed my skills enough to be in the right moments and take the right chances and not put myself in harm’s way right off the bat.
“I feel like the better fighter wins in the longer fights,” Poirier said. “Anybody can get hurt early or submitted early in a fight. The more a fight blossoms and unfolds, the better fighter usually rises up and I just want to show that I’m the better fighter. … Those later rounds, I get going. I’m sure Conor’s made adjustments. He has slowed down in the later rounds, but I think the longer this fight goes, the better it plays out for me.”
While Poirier would love to turn the tables on McGregor and pick up a quick win of his own, he says he’s prepared to win the fight by any means necessary, and is willing to dig deep if needed.
“Of course, I would love to go in there and get it over with early (and) not take unnecessary damage,” Poirier said. “But I just think a fight that plays into will and want and a position where we have to dig down and suffer, I think I can suffer more.
“The plan is to beat Conor McGregor by any means necessary: Blood and guts and fight for the world title again.”
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