The combatants seemingly dared each other to a striking duel at the center of the Octagon. It started when Conor McGregor tweeted about how seriously he takes training camp ahead of his trilogy fight with Dustin Poirier. The Irishman wrote:
"Double skills work. I also didn’t take rest days unless I absolutely had to. Not one. Not even a Sunday. I will take this approach again for my comeback fight. I didn’t become ufc champ champ with this method but I did become ufc 145 champion. Also the cage warrior champ champ."
Dustin Poirier then replied to the tweet, saying:
"I never slack, I'll meet you in the middle of the octagon July 10th," Dustin Poirier captioned a retweet of McGregor's original post.
At that point, Conor McGregor dished out a sarcastic comment about how Dustin Poirier took him down early instead of trading blows with him.
When two fighters know each other very well, they tend to enter a third fight with a more vigilant and calculated approach. This is especially true for Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier as they have both suffered knockout losses to one another.
But if they do decide to throw caution to the wind and engage in an all-out slugfest, who would have a better chance at emerging as the victor? Let's find out.
Conor McGregor's advantage: Power and timing
What is Conor McGregor good at other than fighting in an MMA cage? Explaining why he's so good at fighting in an MMA cage.
After putting Jose Aldo to sleep in 13 seconds, Conor McGregor eloquently explained to Joe Rogan why he got the result that he wanted:
"Precision beats power and timing beats speed. And that's what you saw there," Conor McGregor said during the post-fight interview, after winning the UFC featherweight title."
After winning his second championship at lightweight against Eddie Alvarez, Conor McGregor once again told Rogan why he's one of the best strikers in the game:
"They're not on my level. You've got to have size, strength, length, you've got to have some attributes."
And nobody could disagree with McGregor. The combination of his size, speed, power, precision, and footwork is why he's such a deadly opponent to trade blows with at the center of the Octagon.
McGregor's prodigious timing is arguably his bread and butter, and that's exactly how he was able to put Poirier away during their first encounter.
Early in the fight Dustin Poirier was throwing heavy shots and often missing his target. Conor McGregor took advantage of his opponent's carelessness and landed the cleaner strikes to score the TKO win.
Dustin Poirier's advantage: Patience and composure
At UFC 257, Dustin Poirier maintained a calm and collected facade as he stared Conor McGregor down at the opposite end of the cage. McGregor was the total opposite as he frantically rushed forward before referee Herb Dean even got the chance to call the beginning of the fight.
Moreover, Dustin Poirier's patience shone when he utilized a series of leg kicks instead of immediately looking for a big shot. In the first minute of the opening round, Dustin Poirier successfully landed four leg kicks, which would haunt Conor McGregor later on.
However, what was most impressive about Dustin Poirier's performance was his ability to bounce back after getting dazed by some of McGregor's stingers.
Poirier ate a clean elbow strike from McGregor in the clinch as they were battling for position. The American was then tagged with a left cross that left his legs wobbly.
Dustin Poirier, however, did not let up. Not only did he survive the round after taking some hard shots, but he also continued throwing leg kicks. Those kicks proved to be disastrous for the Irishman as his power was a non-factor in the second round, and his lead leg was practically useless from taking so much damage.
The rest, of course, is history as Poirier went on to KO one of the most feared strikers in the UFC. He didn't do it by being the aggressor. Instead, he accomplished the task by staying disciplined and keeping his composure.
Point blank: Conor McGregor is the better stand-up fighter between the two. If Dustin Poirier hypothetically agrees to forget about every single aspect of MMA except striking, it's highly unlikely that he'll win the trilogy against McGregor.
However, that certainly won't be the case at UFC 264. Given how well-disciplined Poirier is, it's difficult to imagine him getting lured by McGregor into engaging in a reckless fight.
As the more well-rounded fighter overall, Poirier's chances of putting his rival away for good are very favorable.