UFC 264: Fighters and experts give their predictions on Dustin Poirier v Conor McGregor


Conor McGregor meets Dustin Poirier for a third time this weekend with plenty on the line as the Irishman bids to get his lightweight title pursuit back on track in Las Vegas.

The Notorious, 32, was handed a huge setback on Fight Island in January when Poirier, also 32, handed McGregor his first professional defeat by knockout to scupper plans of a rematch against Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Here, Sportsmail takes a look at how UFC pundits and fighters see UFC 264 unfolding, with the lightweight rivals looking to put their superiority beyond doubt. 

FIghters and experts have given their predictions ahead of Conor McGregor v Dustin Poirier III

FIghters and experts have given their predictions ahead of Conor McGregor v Dustin Poirier III

Michael Bisping 

Verdict: Poirier win

Bisping, Britain’s only ever UFC champion, will be out in Sin City for fight week and has predicted that Poirier will show that his victory on Fight Island was no fluke.  

‘I’ve got to interview Conor next week, I’ve got to be careful what I say. I picked against him before and all hell broke loose. But I’m still going to do it. I’m going to stick to my guns. I think Dustin Poirier gets it done,’ he told BT Sport.

British UFC legend Michael Bisping has backed Poirier to emulate his Fight Island win in Vegas

British UFC legend Michael Bisping has backed Poirier to emulate his Fight Island win in Vegas

‘I do think there’s going to be a lot of gamesmanship. They’re going to come with a very strategic approach. Conor for sure. Who knows. Conor, with the fans [in attendance] actually… He’s probably going to go straight forward. Throw everything at him, with a massive attack in the first round. I think if Conor gets it done, there’s a very good chance it’ll be in the first round.’ 

Georges St-Pierre

Verdict: McGregor win 

One of the greatest fighters to grace the UFC octagon has backed McGregor to bounce back against Poirier, singling out the Irishman’s experience in rematches to do the business on Saturday night.  

‘I think McGregor is very good in rematches — and I think he’s going to have the victory,’ St-Pierre told Tristar Gym YouTube channel.

‘I think he’s probably going to win in the second round by knockout.’

All-time great Georges St-Pierre believes McGregor will avenge his defeat to Poirier

All-time great Georges St-Pierre believes McGregor will avenge his defeat to Poirier

Colby Covington

Verdict: Poirier win  

Not one to shy away from making his feelings known, Covington backed his former team-mate to defeat McGregor again, although dismissed the gravity of a win over the Irishman. 

‘Yeah, he’ll probably beat Conor again,’ Covington stated to MMA Fighting via MMA India. ‘But, I mean, what is that saying?

‘You’re beating a guy that has no motivation left in the sport. And I love Conor. He’s had a great career, done great things in the sport, but your time’s up, too. It’s obvious that you’re not training every day, it’s obvious you’re not working on your craft, it’s obvious you’re working on other business deals to line your pockets and pad your bank account.

‘It’s just not the same hungry Conor from a couple of years ago. It’s a different Conor towards the end of his journey and it’s not saying much to beat him anymore.’

Colby Covington has tipped Poirier but dismissed the gravity of a win over McGregor

Colby Covington has tipped Poirier but dismissed the gravity of a win over McGregor

Tyson Fury

Verdict: McGregor win

The Gypsy King has teased a jaunt over to the UFC and the heavyweight champion keeps a close eye on goings-on in the octagon. Fury can see McGregor avenging his Fight Island defeat on July 10.

‘My prediction for the McGregor-Poirier fight is that I think McGregor will win this time,’ Fury told the UFC

‘I think he’s trained hard, and he’s got it all to prove. It will be a great event and one to watch. Tune in.’ 

Dan Hardy

Verdict: McGregor win 

When it comes to tactical breakdowns of fights, no one does it better than Dan Hardy. The former middleweight contender believes that McGregor’s adaptability gives him the edge over Poirier. 

‘I think it is a very competitive fight and the only reason I would lean slightly in McGregor’s direction is because we have seen him regroup and change,’ he told Submission Radio. 

Former fighter and expert analyst Dan Hardy has backed McGregor to get the job done

Former fighter and expert analyst Dan Hardy has backed McGregor to get the job done

‘The changes, the shifts, the regrouping in Poirier’s career has always been down to will and determination whereas McGregor has found technical solutions to his problems and you know that that [his defeat] will be burning in the back of his mind.

‘Every morning he will wake up looking at himself in the mirror and remembers that moment when he is lying against the fence with Poirier walking away. 

‘That is the kind of thing that eats away at him and I can only imagine that McGregor has 1,001 different ways of dealing with Poirier. I still think it is very competitive but I am leaning slightly towards McGregor based on how he approaches the game.’ 

Khabib Nurmagomedov

Verdict: Poirier win… if he can last the first two rounds! 

Nurmagomedov retired from the UFC last October, but has kept a close eye on events in the division he long reigned. The Dagestani has defeated both McGregor and Poirier, but was torn over who wins the trilogy bout. 

‘If it’s the first round [for a finish], I’d back Conor,’ Khabib told RT via SportBible.

‘From the second round and further, then Dustin wins.’

Khabib has beaten both fighters and fears a bad night for McGregor if it goes the distance

Khabib has beaten both fighters and fears a bad night for McGregor if it goes the distance

Chael Sonnen

Verdict: Poirier win

It has been some time since fan-favourite Chael Sonnen last featured in the UFC, but the Bad Guy’s views on the sport are still welcomed by fans. The Oregon-born pundit believes that McGregor is trying to convince himself that he is working hard ahead of the trilogy fight. 

‘I’m actually picking Poirier in this,’ he told ESPN. ‘I don’t love the way Conor’s prepared. I don’t love that he’s not doing media. I know it’s designed to look at though he’s a little bit for more focused.

‘Look, there’s something you get when you’re beating your chest and screaming from the rooftops you’re the best in the world. It’s not to get in your opponents’ heads, it’s to convince yourself.’ 

Alex Volkanovski

Verdict: McGregor win

Volkanovski knows a thing or two about highly-anticipated rematches, having defeated Max Holloway twice to retain his featherweight title. However, the Australian believes that Poirier will be unable to emulate his UFC 257 victory. 

‘Man, it is a tough one after seeing what happened last fight. But I still feel like Conor is more dangerous. And you know, I feel like he’s gonna be dangerous early again,’ he told Submission Radio.

Featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski has once again tipped McGregor to beat Poirier

Featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski has once again tipped McGregor to beat Poirier

‘And I think he’ll be able to control where it goes, maybe a little bit better than where it did go. Obviously it got a little bit tight with calf kicks and things like that but I do believe he is gonna get his hands on Poirier. 

‘I feel like Conor’s gonna get it. I think he gets a finish. I said that last time and I was wrong.’

Leon Edwards

Verdict: McGregor win

As far as knowing how to navigate fights goes, Leon Edwards is one of the best in the UFC. The welterweight contender has won his last 10 fights, displaying the control necessary to overcome all manner of styles in an impressive run of form. 

And the Birmingham-based fighter insists that McGregor will get the job done this weekend as he is the more ‘skilful’ fighter.  

British welterweight contender Leon Edwards says McGregor is more 'skilful' than Poirier

British welterweight contender Leon Edwards says McGregor is more ‘skilful’ than Poirier

‘It is a close one,’ he told BT Sport. I think if Conor can make the right adjustments he should get it done. He’s a better, [more] skilful fighter so if I had to put money on it I’d go with Conor.’ 

Kevin Lee

Verdict: McGregor win

Kevin Lee was once on the cusp of a shot at the lightweight title but has since fallen down the pecking order. The American sees McGregor defeating Poirier in Vegas, but has cast doubt as to his chances against current champion Charles Oliveira.  

‘I see Conor maybe winning this one, I think he will make the adjustments and win it,’ he told Helen Yee, as reported in The Sun.

‘But regardless, either one of them I don’t think have the complete game to beat somebody like Charles Oliveira.

Kevin Lee backs McGregor but says he would lose to current champion Charles Oliveira

Kevin Lee backs McGregor but says he would lose to current champion Charles Oliveira

‘With Charles you’ve got to be on your P’s and Q’s the whole time and you’ve got to have the skills behind it.

‘I think Dustin has had a lot of fights and he is kind of coming into his own, but I think he is starting to hit a plateau period where he kind of does what he does.

‘But there is no new wrinkles added to his game. You have to hit Charles with something new.’



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