Conor McGregor has been warned “there is no tomorrow” after UFC 264 and he must be ready to get into Dustin Poirier’s head before Saturday night.
“The Notorious” faces his American opponent for the third and potentially the last time in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena with never-higher stakes.
After a 12-month hiatus from the sport, McGregor returned to action on Fight Island at UFC 257 against Poirier, a man he knocked out with consummate ease in 2014 when the pair were just weights. feather.
Still, the tables were turned in January as Poirier took his revenge with a devastating finish to leave the Irishman on the canvas – literally and metaphorically.
McGregor’s calm and composed approach failed to generate the animosity fans had grown accustomed to seeing from the Emerald Isle fighter and it may have paid off.
Nick Peet of Fight Disciples began covering McGregor’s career as a young and starving Cage Warriors who held nothing back.
And although the 32-year-old father-of-three was stranded in January, Peet expects an entirely different animal to be unleashed on Sin City this week.
He told talkSPORT.com: “What makes Conor Conor, for me, is that when you talk about fighting and you have opponents, he is the king of trash talk.
“Probably the best speaker I have covered in two decades of combat sports. He is the best we have ever seen in mixed martial arts because he is improvised and totally improvised.
“With Conor, it comes out of the tongue and he’s there with anyone in combat sports and that’s rare. See it on Fight Island with curved edges…
“I was worried if he’s becoming a father now and spending so much time now because he’s a dad that he’s softening up a bit and doesn’t want to throw a bunch of curses.
“Maybe he’s like, ‘Oh my kids will see this in a few years, maybe I should go back.’ But it took away his energy.
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“His energy can be quite threatening in these fights; I was around a lot of big fights when he was talking with brothers Diaz and Eddie Alvarez and Jose Aldo, those fights were lost by the opponents before they even entered the octagon.
“But when he saw Dustin on Fight Island, it was all ‘I support your charity, nice to see you, how is the family doing?’ I think Dustin must have been thinking ‘Wow I have the winning lottery ticket’.
This winning lottery ticket not only secured Poirier’s biggest career victory, but also a third crack for McGregor as he passed up the opportunity to fight for the vacant UFC light belt.
Few would blame the Louisiana native for taking on the game’s most lucrative fight, but it offers a wounded and angry Irishman the perfect opportunity for revenge.
To do this, Peet believes the noisy crowd inside the T-Mobile Arena during Fight Night will not allow the lowly and humble McGregor to function.
Instead, the Liverpudlian expects the former two-weight world champion to cross the octagon and throw an almighty kick to instantly set the narrative of the fight.
“I think once all those Irish fans swarm in Las Vegas and a big crowd, a few drinks flow, Conor won’t be able to resist.
“He won’t be on this new, mature and better Conor anymore because the crowd will demand more.
“It’s hard to start talking about trash and start a slinging match in an empty room with six reporters.
“But when there are 10,000 screaming, drunken fans singing ‘Ole Ole’, you have to perform in front of the audience. They want to hear a little needle, they want to hear him do a little pop to Dustin about how lucky he got with the calf kicks.
“At night, too, I guarantee that the first thing Conor throws with venom is a kick in the leg. Conor will get in there, gauge it, and kick all the kicks.
“It will be a completely different build, a completely different fight and I think we’re going to get the fight that we all expected.
“There’s no tomorrow for Conor McGregor this time around; July 11 is chalk and cheese if you’re Team Conor McGregor.