Dustin Poirier admitted that he found it a lot less mentally taxing preparing for his rematch with Conor McGregor because ‘The Notorious’ avoided trash talk in the build-up.
Poirier exacted revenge on McGregor by becoming the first person to stop the Irishman by TKO in mixed martial arts when the pair shared the Octagon at UFC 257 in January.
During a recent appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience, Poirier revealed that he welcomed the more cordial lead-up to his second fight against McGregor.
He told Rogan: “Fighting is hectic already. You’re about to go in there for 25 minutes, you’ve been training and you know what’s on the line. There’s a lot of pressure.
“So with it being a little bit more calm for me, it was smooth sailing.”
In recent years, we’ve seen a much more genial McGregor in press conferences but Poirier believes the trash-talking persona served the Dubliner better.
When Rogan suggested that it would be better for McGregor “to be an asshole”, Poirier agreed.
“Yeah, be an asshole!” Poirier said.
On several occasions in the past, McGregor has managed to beat opponents long before they entered the Octagon with his matchless expertise in mental warfare.
The most memorable example of that was when McGregor tormented Jose Aldo for months, only for the Brazilian to rush in aggressively when he finally stood opposite ‘The Notorious’ at UFC 194. 13 seconds later, the UFC featherweight title changed hands.
Poirier admitted that he too fell victim to McGregor’s mind games when they first fought in 2014.
“I felt like that the first time I fought Conor,” Poirier said. “When the bell rang, I was like a deer in the headlights. It’s happening, Here we go.
“All that talk and everything over the months just sat in my head and I read into it too much and thought too much.”
McGregor hasn’t had a hostile build-up to a bout since his grudge match with Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018, which infamously erupted in a post-fight brawl after the undefeated Russian submitted McGregor.
For his last two outings, against Poirier and Donald Cerrone, there was nothing but respect and smiles at every press conference.
“He did the same thing with ‘Cowboy’ and I thought maybe it was just him maturing,” Poirier said.
“He’s got a couple of kids now and another on the way. Maybe he’s just maturing and we all change. Maybe he’s a different person now.”
Talks are reportedly ongoing for Poirier vs. McGregor III to take place this summer, although a deal has not yet been signed.