Dustin Poirier may not have got the final finish he wanted in his third fight against Conor McGregor, but his head coach believes the results would have been the same no matter what.
In the main event of UFC 264 last Saturday night, Poirier dominated the opening round against McGregor after hitting the former two-division champion with a vicious pitch and pound that led to a pair of 10- scores. 8 by judges Derek Cleary and Junichiro Kamijo.
Unfortunately, just before the end of the first lap, McGregor stepped back on his foot and his leg completely gave way under him. Reruns showed McGregor broke his leg and the fight obviously ended with Poirier taking the TKO victory.
As unfortunate as it was to see McGregor’s night end in injury, Mike Brown believes the situation would have only gotten worse for the Irish superstar had he been forced to continue against Poirier in the second round and the -of the.
“On the scorecards, two judges had it 10-8,” Brown told MMA Fighting Monday. “It came from the fact that Dustin was at the top, dropping those elbows and showing his dominance, imposing his will. This is what it was about.
“If you look at the story of these two guys, one of them gets stronger as the fight goes on and the other doesn’t. Conor was going to be the most dangerous in the first [round], and I had the impression that as the fight progressed, it was going to get easier.
Regarding the broken leg, Brown can’t exactly determine when McGregor may have been initially injured, although he tends to believe Poirier when he mentioned a particular moment in the fight when he checked for a kick. which could have caused an initial fracture.
This ultimately led to the moment when McGregor stepped back to plant his foot and his leg broke collapsing under him.
“I guess he kicked the knee,” Brown explained. “When Dustin pointed at him, he was pointing at him for a reason. It was like he felt something happen. He was like ‘oh, that was hard on the leg.’ He knew. that something was wrong with that I guess that’s when, but I’m not sure.
Regardless of the injury that occurred at the time, Brown felt like the fight was going as they planned, with Poirier dodging any initial flurry from McGregor in the early moments of the fight and then taking over from there. .
In many ways, the fight actually went better than expected because apart from a few leg kicks and a failed guillotine choke attempt, Poirier was able to take over and deal a lot of damage. to McGregor even before the first round was over.
“Make it work, tire it out, tire it out, stress it out and finish it later,” Brown said of the initial game plan for UFC 264. “Finish it later in the fight. . Protect yourself early, don’t get into a crazy shootout and brawl, which he masters. It’s something he did when he was younger, but I think those days are gone. He has good control over his emotions and he keeps them locked up. If he protects himself early, I don’t think anyone beats him.
Once Poirier started to let go of his hands, McGregor was already on his heels and that’s what ultimately led to the grapple exchange for the cage.
From there, after escaping McGregor’s attempted submission, Poirier began to explode with punches and elbows that could potentially have led to a ground stop.
“I’m not surprised,” Brown said of how the fight ended up going. “DP boxing is super tight, super strong and he cracks. He can hit hard. He’s really dangerous with both hands so if he puts his gloves on you, you’ll feel it. I thought Conor was blowing those legs up, he looked like he was throwing them hard and that worried me a bit because he was throwing them so hard but the placement wasn’t that good. He landed at knee level, which is really dangerous for him.
“Dustin threw a nice calf kick and he landed solidly on the muscle. You put a few down and it doesn’t work. It seemed that the ones Conor was throwing were sort of smashing around the knee, which is probably what gave him problems. Dustin kind of lifted his leg up a bit so that Conor’s small part of his ankle hit that big, solid, bony part of the knee, which is not good for Conor.
While a knockout would have answered any questions about the rivalry, Brown still has no problem with Poirier celebrating his win and feeling justified with the win over McGregor at UFC 264.
After a loss to McGregor in 2014, Poirier has made great improvements since moving to the lightweight division and he has defeated every opponent he has faced in the past four years apart from a loss to the former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
While it might sting McGregor to hear it, Poirier has apparently just surpassed him based on his performances in their last two encounters. Brown believes this is just further proof of the growth Poirier has shown in becoming one of the best fighters on the planet.
“Every time he hits a stumbling block, he comes back stronger,” Brown said of Poirier. “Every time he’s tasted defeat he’s reassessed things and made some major changes, whether it’s the way he approaches the fight or technically and comes back a lot stronger. It’s happened every time and he looks like a whole different guy every time in there.
“He’s improving so much and in terms of skills and technically just his genetics the guy is not normal. The guy has crazy power in both hands. Crazy power in his legs and crazy endurance. You don’t see this bundle of all of this put together and it has been doing so for a very long time at a very high level. He has all the technique and skill to take out anyone. You put a guy in front of him, he has all the tools to beat anyone.
Just hours after undergoing surgery to mend his broken leg, McGregor was already getting back to the fight with Poirier once he was healthy again.
For Brown’s part, it’s not so certain that a fourth fight between Poirier and McGregor is really necessary considering how their last two fights ended, but he also knows that the former champion of the l ‘UFC in two divisions has a long way to go before they can even think about the competition again.
By the time McGregor is actually ready to fight, Brown can’t even begin to speculate what the lightweight division will look like let alone where Poirier will be in his own career.
” I do not think so [a fourth fight is necessary] but who knows where they’ll be when Conor is healthy and back in there, ”Brown said. “We’ll see where he goes. He has a journey ahead of him. Maybe he needs to fight someone else and get a win or two to get back up there, but he’s also the biggest star in the sport.
“He changed the game, did so much for the sport. He is the greatest star the sport has ever seen. It brings a lot of eyeballs. He’s done a lot of great things, but I think skill-wise we have the superior fighter with Dustin. “