There was a lot of respect between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier ahead of their showdown at UFC 257 this weekend.
McGregor returns from retirement to face Poirier for the second time as they clash on Fight Island.
Poirier and McGregor warmly embraced at the UFC 257 press conferenceGetty Images – Getty
The two met in the traditional press conference two days before the fight with the weigh-ins to come on Friday.
They can often be a tense and feisty affair as each looks to get under their opponents skin.
McGregor is normally the master of doing that, but we saw a somewhat more mellow Conor in Abu Dhabi.
The pair shook hands as they joined the stage while also had very kind words to say about each other.
McGregor said: “I’ve been highly impressed, I think the whole business has been highly impressed, after that loss many, many years ago, he rose up became champion and has given so much back.
“I am honoured to share the octagon with this man. I know we have this competitive fire, and it’s still there, there’s no denying that and it’s going to be a good fireworks filled bout but the respect is admirable for this man from me.”
Conor McGregor appears to have mellowed somewhat ahead of this fightGetty Images – Getty
The respect was clear to see last year when the two initially arranged an exhibition fight via an exchange on Twitter, which was initially not under the UFC banner.
This turned into a fight in the UFC but the charitable contribution they both talked about appears to still be happening.
Poirier said: “I don’t want to seem like we are up here giving each other back massages but I just wanted to clear the air. Conor’s team, McGregor Sports Entertainment did reach out to my foundation and they are starting the donation to the good fight foundation and we have huge plans for that.
“So Conor, man to man, you are going to help a lot of people with that.”
Conor McGregor knocked out Dustin Poirier with a left hook in 2014Getty Images – Getty
It was a completely different story back in 2014 when they met in the hotel as McGregor set about unnerving his opponent.
Taking aim at his chin, his upbringing and even the size of his head, the Irishman ran down Poirier with vicious verbal barbs that had become his trademark in UFC, as many others will attest to, including Khabib Nurmagomedov and Jose Aldo.
It worked incredibly well for McGregor, with cameras capturing Poirier telling coach Mike Brown he ‘had never disliked someone that much’ before a fight.
The Irishman went on to win by a first round stoppage.
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