Conor McGregor had beaten Dustin Poirier in their first fight at UFC 178 in September 2014. The buildup to that fight witnessed McGregor repeatedly trash talk and insult Poirier. McGregor then beat Poirier via first-round TKO in their fight.
On the contrary, Conor McGregor was very respectful in the buildup to the rematch against Poirier that transpired at UFC 257 on January 23, 2021. Speaking to ESPN MMA’s DC & Helwani, Daniel Cormier believes that this is where Conor McGregor went wrong and why he lost via second-round TKO at UFC 257. Cormier stated:
“The buildup (to a fight), I truly believe that some people need that edge. Do I think he needs to go as far as he went with the Khabib (Nurmagomedov) fight? No, that was too far. But I think some of those guys need that edge a little bit, man. And I think for McGregor, he’s showing a maturity about it that he may not have had before, but I think that some of these guys need that edge. Like, you know, I know (Jon) Jones got into a lot of trouble for the things that he did. He said to me one time, ‘I beat you after a weekend of cocaine’, or whatever. People are like, ‘oh, that’s so crazy’. But I think when a guy is living so crazy like that, at times, it allows him to be so free inside that fight. And I think, for Conor, he was so loose in that buildup, that it allowed him to just be so free. And I felt like walking out there, he looked like himself. But you could see a little bit less of that McGregor swagger as he walked to the octagon. Now, I don’t care what you say; anybody that watched the fight could see it.”
“He just didn’t seem like the same guy. And I think maybe the maturity – you mature inside your life, but you also mature inside your mind and in the fight – Because the things that maybe didn’t worry you before because you were just so fuzzy that you didn’t care, now that there’s not that fuzz to block out all the nervous emotion, and now you see everything.”
“Not even just Conor, man. I would advise a lot of those guys that went to the top of the mountain with that type of style: You can’t truly just eliminate it all. You just can’t. I’m sorry. I just think that you have to continue, and have a little bit of like…(Joe) Rogan used to always say that, ‘He (Conor McGregor) is a wild man. He’s a wild man’. He's a wild man in the cage, he's a wild man outside. And I think sometimes that lends itself to each other.”
“Does Conor have the motivation to go back and become the guy that competed at the level that he did all those times? Like, seeing a young man mature is not a bad thing, Ariel. Let’s not make it seem that way, but this is a freakin’…This is a sport where a lot of times, the bandits win. You know, sometimes, the bad guy wins in Mixed Martial Arts…Dustin Poirier is a good guy. And he’s one of the good guys that win. But I think for certain guys, man, you’ve got to have that edge. They just need it.” (*H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)
Daniel Cormier added that this piece of advice is not just for Conor McGregor, but it’s also for other fighters like McGregor who are more comfortable when they’re trash talking their foes rather than when they’re friendly with them.
Conor McGregor was similarly respectful during his previous fight at UFC 246
Conor McGregor and his head coach John Kavanagh asserted that they would like McGregor to face Poirier in the trilogy bout before the summer of 2021. That said, whether or not this fight comes to fruition remains to be seen.
About Daniel Cormier’s statements, one ought to note that Conor McGregor was just as respectful towards Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in the buildup to their UFC 246 (January 2020) matchup, as he was towards Poirier in the buildup to UFC 257. However, that fight went Conor McGregor’s way and witnessed McGregor impressively defeat Cerrone via TKO within 40 seconds of round one.