When McGregor and Poirier last fought, in 2014, the Irishman predicted a first-round KO of the American. McGregor made good on that promise, finishing Poirier at 1:46 of the first frame in their three-round featherweight bout.
And ahead of their lightweight meeting in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, scheduled as a five-round main event, McGregor said last week: “I like Dustin. I think he’s a good fighter – he’s even a great fighter, you know, but great is still levels below me. I’ll knock Dustin out inside 60 seconds.”
McGregor and Poirier faced off at the UFC 257 pre-fight press conference on Yas Island – otherwise known as ‘Fight Island’ – on Thursday, as the largely cordial build-up to their bout continued.
However, McGregor did reassert his prediction that he expects to get ‘The Diamond’ out of the Octagon early, saying: “That’s a complete confidence in my preparation and my abilities. I feel I can do it.
“I think I possibly will hit him early and hurt him.”
Poirier, meanwhile, says he wants a war in the Etihad Arena in front of 2,000 fans, and McGregor acknowledged his opponent’s plan to drag ‘Notorious’ into deep waters, hitting out at the American’s coaches in the process.
“I know his team have been spouting about the conditioning and all that,” McGregor said, adding that part of him wishes for the bout to extend beyond the early rounds, so as to give him an opportunity to further showcase his abilities.
Chandler, sat next to McGregor, noted that all four fighters on stage – himself, his opponent, McGregor and Poirier – are all fathers, and said of the Irishman: “One of the baddest men on the planet, now one of the daddest men on the planet.”
McGregor took the comment as it was intended – as a compliment – responding: “I appreciate it!”
‘Notorious’ was also asked throughout about a potential rematch against old rival Khabib Nurmagomedov, who last week met with UFC president Dana White to discuss the Russian’s future.
Nurmagomedov retired from MMA after retaining his lightweight title against Justin Gaethje in October, but said – per White – that he could be coaxed back for one more fight if one of the four lightweights involved in the main event and co-main event can impress him on Saturday.
The Russian cornered his cousin Umar at the Etihad Arena on Wednesday night but is set to depart ‘Fight Island’ before UFC 257. He has, however, been sharing a hotel with McGregor and the other fighters.
When asked whether he would be likely to clash with Nurmagomedov if the pair were to meet in person, McGregor said: “As long as we fight again, there’ll be no issue. If he continues to run, I’m not sure – we’ll see what happens.”