Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier had quite a few common opponents throughout their respective mixed martial arts careers.
No fewer than five different fighters competed against both Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier and one of the common opponents, Joe Duffy, has given his opinion on January’s rematch between ‘The Notorious’ and ‘The Diamond’ while also revealing what he expects to happen in the trilogy fight this summer.
Donegal’s Duffy, who is now retired from competition, welcomed McGregor to the Cage Warriors promotion in 2010 and needed less than a minute to submit the Dubliner with an arm triangle.
It's almost a decade since 'Irish Joe' finished McGregor in Cork, Ireland 🇮🇪
— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) November 1, 2019
Duffy followed McGregor into the UFC in 2015 and enjoyed a fruitful start to life with the promotion but in his third fight under the UFC banner, he was pitted against Poirier and suffered the first decision defeat of his career.
As one of several common opponents of McGregor and Poirier, Duffy admitted being surprised by both fighters when they clashed in January.
“Normally he (McGregor) throws dynamic kicks to make people uncomfortable at that distance, which makes fighters want to rush the distance with their attacks which plays into McGregor’s counter left hand,” Duffy told talkSPORT.
“Dustin also surprised me how composed he was even when he got hit, I thought that was vital to win the fight.”
Poirier handed McGregor the first TKO defeat of his MMA career by stopping ‘The Notorious’ in the second round earlier this year, with McGregor admitting that he’d never experienced Poirier’s calf kick technique before.
While McGregor and his head coach vowed to address the defence of calf kicks in the training camp ahead of the rubber match, Duffy is not so sure that his fellow Irishman will have enough time to properly adjust to that particular strike.
“The calf kicks are a real equaliser to any fighter,” Duffy said. “It can only take one to numb the leg. I think obviously southpaw to southpaw he can adopt them himself, but also must train a defence until it’s muscle memory.”
Despite his TKO defeat in January, McGregor remains a slight betting favourite going into the trilogy fight on July 10.
But Duffy is predicting that the UFC 264 main event will follow a similar pattern to the rematch in January.
“I think the fight will go a similar way,” Duffy concluded. “I just feel Dustin’s Octagon time and hunger is a factor.
“If things aren’t going well, he has more ability to adapt in the fight than McGregor has also.”