In an appearance on the Real Quick With Mike Swick podcast, Dan Hardy opened up on multiple topics. Most prominently, Hardy broke down the trilogy matchup between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier at UFC 264. Hardy picked Conor McGregor to win, but he did insinuate that Poirier too could possibly win the fight. Hardy noted that he slightly favors Conor McGregor in this fight and stated –
“Absolutely, he’s got a chance to beat Poirier…If he’d have beaten Poirier the second time, I’d pick Poirier to win the third time because McGregor wouldn’t be as interested. Because he’s coming off a loss, I think he’s more motivated and he’s more likely to win the next one around. I think he took Poirier a little lightly because he stopped him so early the first time around. And I don’t think he credited Poirier with being a different animal, or at least being, I mean, he (Poirier) he’s got great coaches in his corner like Mike Brown; I don’t think he (McGregor) credited Poirier with his adaptability to be able to find a way to beat McGregor.”
“So, he just went on back to the, ‘I’ll just counterpunch with my left. I’ll come over his jab and catch him with my left’. Because that seemed to be the only and the main game plan, which is what left his lead leg vulnerable. Then you go back to the first fight, and the first 30 seconds or so, he’s doing the long karate stance. You know, he’s got a hop-side kick and a spinning kick. I think he goes back to that version. I think we see him lighter on his feet. We see much more of a mixed martial artist instead of a counterpuncher.”
“And I think he’s going to be able to cut the octagon down against Poirier with that hop side kick, you know, slide into his left hand. There are a lot of techniques that he just neglected. And what was weird is after their second fight, it was almost like, people were like, ‘Well, that’s who McGregor is now’. It’s like he doesn’t know the kicks anymore. Like, somehow he’d forgotten all of it. It’s like it’s still there. He just chose not to use it. He chose to be a heavy front-foot counterpuncher because he expected to stop him in the first minute. And I think he just underestimated Poirier. And I think this time around, he’ll be on his game, he’ll be fighting at range, he’ll use his kicking. But I also think we’ll see more grappling out of McGregor.”
Dan Hardy proceeded to recall Conor McGregor’s win over Max Holloway and highlighted how the former out-grappled Holloway in their fight en route to a unanimous decision win despite a knee injury.
Dan Hardy is leaning slightly towards Conor McGregor in his UFC 264 fight against Dustin Poirier
Dan Hardy explained that Conor McGregor has refined his MMA skill-set and is better at applying it rather than simply relying on toughness and aggression like Poirier often does. Moreover, Hardy praised Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. He said:
“I think it’s a very competitive third fight. I’m very interested to see it. And I think I’m leaning towards McGregor slightly, but that’s not in any way to devalue Poirier and his chances. You know, he’s an excellent fighter. There’s no doubt.” (*H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)
Presently, Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier are 1-1 in their series of fights. The Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier trilogy matchup will headline UFC 264 on July 10th, 2021.