Fight night is almost upon us.
Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier has divided a lot of opinion and the pair are now ready for their rematch and talkSPORT will be by the octagon to bring the results to you as they come in.
John Kavanagh stood alongside McGregor when he became champion on both occasionsSportsfile – Getty
So, who will win the main event? It’s what talkSPORT wanted to know when presented with the chance to chat to John Kavanaugh on Fight Island.
Here’s what the head of Straight Blast Gym in Dublin had to say on the main event, as well as some other notable names.
John Kavanagh: Head coach of Conor McGregor
“I think Dustin’s biggest attribute is that he pours on a lot of pressure,” he said.
“That’s certainly something to take note of. He’s been in some wars lately where’s he’s been able to walk through some shots and pile on a whole load of pressure. Do we get into a whole technical discussion with just a few days to go? Probably not [laughs].
“The man is very skilled everywhere. It’s a new fight and it’s a similar fight. I feel Dustin is good everywhere. He’s got a great guillotine attack, he’s dangerous everywhere. But we’re confident Conor is a level above. Conor’s power has increased to an extraordinary level, to be honest. I’m really excited to see it when I’m not shouting at him ‘take it easy! Take it easy!’ when he’s wearing 18oz gloves and people are still flying across the ring.
“So to see him with 4oz gloves and not having to worry about the sparring partner? it’s exciting.”
Getty Images – Getty Poirier weighed in a little heavier than McGregor, but is still the underdog at UFC 257[/caption]
Daniel Cormier: Former UFC heavyweight champion
“I think this is a fight with a lot of questions,” he explained to talkSPORT.
“I don’t know if we’ve seen Conor as motivated or focused as he seems for a very long time. Dustin Poirier, you wonder if the experiences he’s had since that first fight, has prepared him for taking on that challenge again.
“It’s a very difficult fight to call because there are so many unknowns. Because as good as we know Dustin has gotten, has he closed the gap? There’s some mental things that Dustin can rely on to allow him to feel propped up. He got knocked out, but he didn’t get beat over an extended period of time.
“It was a very close fight. You could call back on that like ‘hey, I got caught with a shot. I don’t know what would have happened over the course of 15 minutes. You get caught with a shot like that again though… you just know he’s a guy who can find that shot. So I don’t know, I really don’t know!”
Stephen Thompson: Current no.5 UFC welterweight
“I think Dustin Poirier is a different animal. He is a different animal from the last time they faced, but Conor McGregor can win this fight. I’m pulling for him.”
Colby Covington: Current no.1 ranked welterweight
“It’s not going to be competitive. I think Conor’s just going to spark him first round. Just get the Kleenex ready, cause Dustin’s going to be crying up a storm at the press conference and getting everybody to feel bad for him.”
Michael Bisping: Former Middleweight champion
“Poirier needs to wrestle,” he told talkSPORT. “He needs to drag it to the later rounds, easier said than done.
“Everyone tries to do it to McGregor, I tried to do it to Vitor Belfort and it didn’t go my way. People say, ‘Oh just grab hold of him and push him against the fence’. Of course they have an answer for that.
“But Dustin is good at doing that, he comes from a good team, he has a great coach and it is a rematch so he has been in there and he knows what it feels like physically. So he has a great advantage there and I think he takes a shot better because he is not cutting down to 145lbs.
“I think it goes longer than the first one, but if you want a pick, I think McGregor gets a knockout late in round two.”
Leon Edwards: Current no.3 ranked welterweight
“I think Conor. I think Conor gets it done. From the last fight, both of them improved, and Dustin has improved leaps and bounds. But I think Conor, his shots will still be too heavy for him, and I think he probably finishes him again. I think a later round this time, but I think he finishes him again.”
McGregor has fought once since being beaten by Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229Getty Images – Getty
Javier Mendez: Head coach of current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov
“I favour Conor because he’s the better precision striker and taking Conor to the ground is going to be no easy task for Dustin. So, Dustin’s going to have to grit it out, get inside, and grind him out if he’s able to.
“Anything is possible, they’re both world class athletes, but I definitely favour Conor because of the striking aspect. He’s the master striker in the lightweight division. I favour Conor but I’m not counting Dustin out by any means.”
Justin Gaethje: Current no.1 ranked UFC lightweight
“I don’t know, man. This is two really high level fighters. Conor is really good. I do see him probably winning. It’ll be interesting to see if Dustin rises to the occasion. I don’t think [the weight] is an issue. I think what’s different is their mindsets because of the places they are and the places they’ve gone since then. They’re much different people since that fight, you know, both of them.”
Dustin Poirier has been knocked down, but never stays thereGetty Images – Getty
Anthony Smith: Current no.6 ranked light-heavyweight
“I’m liking Poirier, I really am. I think he’s just a different guy. It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be an extremely competitive fight. But I think Dustin has made those improvements. He looked really good until he fought Khabib, he looked unstoppable up until that point. He beat Justin Gaethje. I just really like Dustin Poirier in that fight.”
Paul Felder: Current no.8 ranked UFC lightweight
“It’s always about skills, but I think the mental part of this game is the most important part,” he told talkSPORT.
“At that level, with main event status, guys have held the belt and you’re good. Your skills are there. What sets you apart at that point, the tippy-top of these divisions, it’s your mental fortitude, your durability and we’ve seen Poirier show his heart recently and really put it on display in his fights.
“With Conor, we see how he talks and the way he’s training, he seems to be in the shape of his life. I can’t wait, I really can’t. If that gets out of the first round and we don’t see a Conor KO, we’re going to see some battle between those two guys.
“Conor says it’s going to be 60 seconds – I hope it’s not. I want to see more. But, with that left hand, it could be 20 seconds…”
There was a lot of mutual respect between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregorGetty Images – Getty
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