Ahead of the UFC 264 showdown between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier on Saturday night in Las Vegas, top mixed martial artists give their predictions for the bumper trilogy fight.
In the early hours of Sunday morning Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier will clash for the third time in the main event of UFC 264.
The two first met in the Octagon just over seven years ago at UFC 178, where fresh-faced McGregor claimed his third UFC win with a knockout in just under two minutes.
The latest instalment was held in January this year, on UFC’s Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. On that occasion, it was Poirier who knocked out McGregor, the first man to ever do so in MMA.
Now, the two collide once again with both aiming to prove who is the better fighter.
Ahead of the showdown, Sky Sports asked some the best MMA talent from UFC, Bellator and the PFL for their thoughts. McGregor vs Poirier…who wins?
Leon Edwards (UFC Middleweight): “If I had to put money on it, I would probably edge towards Poirier. I would like Conor to win, he’s done a lot for the sport and I know he can beat him. It just depends where he’s at mentally. I’m looking forward to it.”
Brendan Loughnane (PFL Featherweight): “Everyone that is saying ‘McGregor’s finished’ is stupid, because McGregor was winning that fight and got caught with a kick.
“Maybe he hasn’t got the hunger that he had when he was like myself – starving, who hasn’t got the millions in the bank – but to say that he’s lost his skill is stupid.
“Conor McGregor is still one of the most gifted, skilful athletes in the world and like he did with [Nate] Diaz in the second fight, I think he will come back better, stronger, he’ll deal with the calf kicks and he’ll finish Poirier in the third fight.”
Anthony Johnson (Bellator Heavyweight): “Dustin is on his thing right now and I think Conor will give him a run for his money. The first time they fought both were very young, Conor was hot, it was his time. Dustin’s hot, this is his time.
“Who’s going to be the hot one now in the third match, who’s going to show up? Conor is a huge entertainer and we need that in the sport, and we need Dustin too, he’s such a beast.
“Their styles match up with each other very well, but I think when it comes to who wants it more and the determination, I think Dustin wants it a lot more.”
Leah McCourt (Bellator Featherweight): “Conor comes back after every loss, shows that he can learn from it, gets better, and improves. His fight IQ is so high I can see him coming back and potentially dominating this fight.
“Dustin came in with a different game plan (for the second fight) than he thought and has improved so much from their first fight. It’s going to be interesting to see what adjustments Conor makes and what that outcome will be. I see Conor coming away with the win.”
Marvin Vettori (UFC Middleweight): “I think Poirier is going to get it. McGregor has that left hand that can solve anything, but I think he’s relying too much on that, which can cause him problems too. I think Poirier is going to do it though.”