Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier managed to keep it cordial at the UFC 257 press conference, but the fires of competition still burn bright.
The Irishman makes his long-awaited return to the octagon on Saturday night on Fight Island in a rematch of his UFC 178 clash with Poirier.
Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier face off for the first time since 2014Getty Images – Getty
Back in 2014, the pair were trying to establish themselves in the business as featherweight contenders, with the trash talking and bravado threatening to overshadow the fight itself.
Almost seven years on, the pair are far more mature and the level of respect on display at the press conference on Thursday morning in the Etihad Arena was clear for all to see.
However, as the lightweight contenders faced off away from the microphones in front of an excited Dana White, there was a stark reminder to anyone who feared Poirier and McGregor were becoming too friendly.
‘The Diamond’ said: “You know what’s going to happen.”
[email protected] vs @TheNotoriousMMA! #UFC257 is LIVE Saturday on @espn+ PPV #InAbuDhabi @visitabudhabi pic.twitter.com/RAkSUMUJNc
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Clearly excited by his return, McGregor whipped off his glasses and said: “Yeah it is on.
“You know what it is in there, we both know.”
The first rumours of a fight between the two men started in September, with McGregor suggesting the pair fight and raise money for ‘The Good Fight Foundation’ – the charity Poirier formed.
And the 32-year-old admitted he was touched by the generosity of the Irishman and his commitment to helping others.
McGregor was dressed to impress, but his sharp wit was temporarily blunted at the UFC 257 press conferenceGetty Images – Getty
“I don’t want to make it look like we are up here giving each other back massages,” Poirier said.
“But I just want to clear the air, Conor and his team – McGregor Sports and Entertainment – did reach out to my Foundation.
“They are starting the donation to the Good Fight Foundation and we have huge, huge plans for that so man-to-man, you’re going to help a lot of people.”