3 reasons why the friendship between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier was never gonna last

The McGregor-Poirier rivalry was in full display at UFC 178
The McGregor-Poirier rivalry was in full display at UFC 178
Sunderam Saxena

The McGregor-Poirier rivalry took seven years to fade but returned in a matter of weeks.

The relationship between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier has been through a roller-coaster ride. Things got off to a rough start between the two after their first bout was booked in 2014 for UFC 178. The dynamic changed drastically when McGregor suddenly became a nice guy ahead of their rematch at UFC 257 in 2021.

Ultimately, the duo's relationship suffered an ugly fall-out. Relations between the fighters took a nosedive with a public quarrel over a $500,000 donation and Conor McGregor canceling the trilogy with Dustin Poirier weeks after backing it.

Looking back, however, it could be said that the McGregor-Poirier rivalry was always on the cards considering the two polar opposite personalities involved. For several reasons, Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier being friends would not last.

In this article, we look at three reasons why the McGregor-Poirier rivalry is anything but surprising.

#3 - Extrovert vs Introvert

Conor McGregor's extroverted nature fuelled the McGregor-Poirier rivalry
Conor McGregor's extroverted nature fuelled the McGregor-Poirier rivalry

One doesn't have to look closely to see that Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier have completely different energies. While The Notorious clearly has an over-the-top and eccentric persona, The Diamond is self-restrained and reserved.

Conor McGregor is the type of fighter to laugh and hurl insults, while Dustin Poirier almost cried after his defeat against Khabib Nurmagomedov. The duo are a classic case of extrovert vs introvert, making the McGregor-Poirier rivalry easy to understand.

In an interview with the UFC, Dustin Poirier explains his rise to the top by saying:

"I didn't say something cool and people started getting behind me. I didn't come off a reality show, I did nothing like that. Did it punch by punch and I did it against the best guys in the world."

That statement holds true for The Diamond. A media-shy person who likes to spend time with his family, Poirier is a true introvert.

On the other hand, Conor McGregor is an extrovert. With regular phrases like "The king speaks how he wants", "Bow before the king", or even calling wrestling "fake sh*t" in the presence of Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier, his outbursts are explosive.

As seen many times, Conor McGregor uses his sharp tongue and wits to win over the hearts of his fans and irk his opponents, making him the opposite of shy.

The king of trash-talk eventually made it difficult for the McGregor-Poirier rivalry to stay buried.

#2 - Arrogant vs Humble

Dustin Poirier and Khabib Nurmagomedov after UFC 242
Dustin Poirier and Khabib Nurmagomedov after UFC 242

Conor McGregor has often displayed his arrogant self inside and outside the octagon. A few examples of him being brash could be him jumping into an octagon during a pro fight to confront the referee, or punching an older man in an Irish pub because he wasn't ready to drink Proper Number Twelve, among others.

Speaking after his UFC 178 win at the event's post-fight conference, when the McGregor-Poirier rivalry was still brand new, Conor himself called Dustin Poirier "a humble guy." The Notorious went on to add, "..make no mistake, I'm cocky in prediction, I'm confident in preparation." A statement that spoke volumes about why the McGregor-Poirier rivalry took shape.

When Dustin Poirier defeated Conor McGregor at UFC 257 via TKO, becoming the first fighter to knock The Notorious out, he did not scream or shout. As Bruce Buffer announced him as the winner of the bout, he held up both of his index fingers, stating that the score between him and McGregor was still 1-1.

Poirier could have rubbed McGregor's defeat in his face, or ran around the octagon, as Conor had done seven years prior. But Poirier stood there like the gentleman he was, humble even in victory - not fuelling the McGregor-Poirier rivalry.

Replying to Jon Anik, Dustin Poirier spoke about his win and said:

"Yeah, I'm happy, man.. First of all I wanna say, Conor, he took the result very professionally over here. He's a pro, man, and nothing but respect. We're 1 and 1. Maybe we'll have to do it again."

Even Khabib Nurmagomedov, the undefeated former UFC lightweight champion, acknowledged Dustin Poirier's humility. After defeating Dustin Poirier at UFC 242: "In MMA, the number one thing is respect. This is what we showed with Dustin Poirier and his great team.."

Looking back, however, the McGregor-Poirier rivalry makes sense with the opposing personalities the two fighters have displayed over the years. While Poirier has shown humility even after the win against McGregor, the latter has often stayed arrogant even in defeat.

Take the case of McGregor's defeat against Khabib Nurmagomedov. Posting on social media, Conor said while he had lost the match, he had won the battle - bringing his arrogant side to the fore.

While Conor McGregor had become friends with Dustin Poirier coming into UFC 257, it took only a nudge from both sides for the McGregor-Poirier rivalry to return, and for good.

#1 - Bad blood from UFC 178 fuelling the McGregor-Poirier rivalry

The McGregor-Poirier was at its peak during UFC 178
The McGregor-Poirier was at its peak during UFC 178

Conor McGregor transitioned into Mr. Nice Guy when he came out of the pandemic to fight Dustin Poirier in 2021. He wished Poirier well, crediting him for having "fought a hell of a fight" and showed uncharacteristic class.

That was not the case back in 2014 during the peak of the McGregor-Poirier rivalry, when Conor McGregor was first pitted against Dustin Poirier. At the pre-fight conference of UFC 178, McGregor had said to Dustin's face:

"Look, all you gotta do is look at Dustin's last couple of fights. The last contest he fought was against a Ultimate Fighter reject and nobody gave a shit about it.. and he got wobbled about 40 times. His chin is deteriorating.. Come up against me, that's not gonna be good, I'm gonna crack him with a jab and he's gonna wobble. It's gonna be a first round KO, mark my words."

The McGregor-Poirier rivalry was strong, as the bad blood between the two fighters was mutual. In an interview ahead of UFC 178, Dustin Poirier admitted that he despised Conor McGregor and wanted to put him away early. He said,

"It's a grudge-match, I don't like this guy, you know? And it sounds like he doesn't like me obviously.. It's the first time I've ever fought somebody who's talking like this.. But I think he's more in love with himself and that's gonna be his downfall."

At the weigh-ins for UFC 178, Dustin Poirier was visibly worked up, showing that the McGregor-Poirier rivalry had gotten to his head.

With Dana White struggling to keep the fighters apart, Dustin was pointing his fingers in McGregor's face, saying, "You ain't sh*t, boy, you ain't sh*t." At the time, the McGregor-Poirier rivalry was ionfull display. Poirier was also caught on camera saying that he was going to "bully the bully."

He had said:

"Conor McGregor runs his mouth a lot. He's not the guy he thinks he is. He's not the guy you think he is, and I'm gonna show that."

Another instance of Conor McGregor fuelling the McGregor-Poirier rivalry came when he said:

"His (Dustin Poirier's) shots are basic and I think this is where it comes to an end. He's gonna hit the canvas hard."

The McGregor-Poirier rivalry finally returned to the surface following trilogy talks. Conor McGregor predicted a win via kick to the nose in round four. Replying to the post, Poirier said the prediction would fail, just as his donation to The Diamond's foundation did, starting an ugly verbal spat between the two.

The Diamond's attempt at "smearing" Conor McGregor's name apparently brought back the McGregor-Poirier rivalry.

McGregor hit the final nail in the McGregor-Poirier rivalry coffin, calling off their trilogy fight set for July 10, 2021, in a tweet filled with expletives:

While it is unclear whether the trilogy will take place or not, if it does, it will most certainly be a blockbuster owing to the flavourful McGregor-Poirier rivalry.

Also Read: What is Dustin Poirier's Net Worth in 2021?

Edited by James McGlade


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