With UFC 264 just over three weeks away, fight fans are salivating over one of the most anticipated trilogies in history. ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor will face Dustin ‘Diamond’ Poirier for the third time at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on July 10, with the score tied at one apiece.
It is a very interesting matchup indeed, less than six months after the pair last met - a much closer gap than the six-year difference between their first two bouts. The Irishman looked a shadow of himself at UFC 257 in January. His fighting style seems to have stiffened; long gone are the days of ‘Karate Conor.’ Failing to check Poirier’s devastating calf kicks, ‘Diamond’ finished McGregor off with a barrage of punches in the second round - the first time ‘The Notorious’ has been knocked out in his MMA career.
McGregor’s lackluster performances have led some to believe he is in an irreversible state of decline. With this in mind, let’s take a look at three UFC fighters who believe Conor McGregor is finished as a top contender.
#3 Nate Diaz - UFC record 20-13
If there’s one fighter on the roster who knows more about fighting Conor McGregor than Dustin Poirier, it’s Stockton-native Nate Diaz. In 2016, the southpaw shared the octagon with the Irishman for over 30 minutes across two fights. The Californian gave ‘The Notorious’ his first taste of defeat in the UFC and is always happy to remind him publicly.
After McGregor’s shock KO defeat to Poirier in January, Diaz took to Twitter to rub salt in the open wound. "These guys get finished all the time," was his first jab.
Diaz himself hasn’t technically been stopped since a loss to Josh Thomson in 2013.
With Diaz’s jibes post-fight and his recent five-round war with natural welterweight Leon Edwards, it would be fair to say that the man representing the ‘209’ does not think McGregor is a top contender.
#2 Kamaru Usman - UFC record 14-0
‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ Kamaru Usman is on an incredible, ground-breaking UFC win-streak. He has won all 14 of his octagon appearances, a run that led to him becoming UFC welterweight champion. He has already successfully defended his title four times.
Staying true to his nature, McGregor recently joked about becoming the first three-weight UFC champion, insinuating Usman's welterweight crown was up for grabs. This didn't sit well with 'The Nigerian Nightmare.' Speaking in a recent interview with ESPN, Kamaru Usman said:
“He is just a guy that is in the UFC… if he wasn’t Conor and hasn’t done the things that he has done he would be just a regular fighter. The old Conor, the hungry Conor, that was the fighter that fighters respected. Now, not that we don’t respect him at all – he is a UFC fighter – but he is just a regular fighter.”
Watch the interview with Kamaru Usman below:
#1 Colby Covington - UFC record 11-2
‘Chaos’ Colby Covington is still letting the world know he wants a rematch with Usman for the welterweight title. Covington has probably tested ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ more than any other fighter in recent years. The pair fought out a ‘Fight of the Night’ war at UFC 245 in 2019, with Usman getting the stoppage in the dying seconds of round five.
You can then understand why McGregor's lofty welterweight ambitions would annoy 'Chaos.' Never shy about sharing his thoughts, Covington revealed what he thought about McGregor in a recent interview with MMA Junkie.
"It's funny you're talking about the Con-man [Conor] McGregor and the Dustin fight. We know, Con man's washed up, I don't even know why he's fighting. I mean, we know why he's fighting, his pride won't let him stop from fighting. You know, the guy's got nothing left. It's a horse and pony show, the guy's done, he's cashed out, he's made all that money and has nothing left to prove. But his pride won't let him stop, so he's coming back against Dustin."
Watch the interview with Colby Covington below:
Colby's harsh words ring true; the Irishman has looked out of sorts ever since the Khabib fight. McGregor has made enough money to secure financial wealth for generations of his family, which leads to the question, is Conor McGregor still motivated to fight?
For lightning fast updates on UFC 265, Jake Paul vs Tyron Woodley and more, follow our FB page!