Las Vegas-for better or worse, “old” Connor McGregor is back.
After two games where the notorious Irishman showed respect to his opponents, McGregor returned to his old path before the rubber game with Dustin Boyle. He fully demonstrated these antics at the UFC 264 press conference. After politely playing against Donald Cerrone and Boyle, it seemed to turn a new page, McGregor, who was popular in the sports world, came back and made it effortless in the assembly.
But is this an attitude adjustment to Poirier or McGregor?
Since the battle of the trilogy is scheduled to take place on July 10th, McGregor has stepped up his trash talk. At first, it seemed relatively harmless, usually a series of insults. But in the past week, things took a sinister turn, because McGregor dragged Boyle’s wife Julie into the dispute. When the two fighters came to power on Thursday, McGregor’s temperament was already boiling.
After throwing a bottle of Poirier’s hot sauce into the crowd, McGregor rushed to his opponent. UFC Chairman Dana White and the event staff frantically tried to separate the players. After avoiding a skirmish, McGregor, wearing a purple suit and sunglasses, fired one verbal grenade one after another in an attempt to provoke Poirier.
“Your wife is your husband, you’re just a little guy, a stupid little hillbilly,” McGregor said, and the crowd supporting McGregor started chanting with him. “Julie’s wife, Julie’s wife, Julie’s wife!”
McGregor did everything from Call Poirier “Buster Douglas” Regarding what he thought was a fluke win in January, he threatened to pull his opponent’s head off his shoulder on Saturday night.
To its credit, Poirier remained calm amidst the gunfire. Unlike their first meeting, Poirier refused to let McGregor see that any of his words affected him. Instead, he chose his position to fight back. When asked why he thought McGregor’s attitude had changed in this battle, Poirier said: “Because he was knocked down.
“It’s not that McGregor is fast, McGregor sleeps.”
For Irish fans and White, this is a familiar sight, who has been sitting in the front row of the McGregor show from scratch to the present.
“Listen, I think every version of Connor that has appeared in the past few years is always different,” White said. “He does what he should do.”
But is this what he has to do? Is this the only way to find the “old” Connor McGregor inside the octagon? Words can’t fight for you, but they can certainly stir things up. But it definitely felt that McGregor wanted to find himself instead of entering Boyle’s mind.
“For me, the aura no longer exists,” Poirier said. “Very dangerous warrior sitting here, of course. No doubt. But I saw a man. You are in the crowd, cheer up-have fun. But I saw a man sitting in front of me and I have defeated I know I can beat it again.”
It felt like McGregor was chasing an orgasm he had experienced before and realized that he needed extra adrenaline to reach his peak state. Even though this had a different impact on his opponents than when he defeated Poirier six years ago, it brought McGregor back to the era when he dominated the MMA scene inside and outside the octagonal cage. Respect each other in January, but McGregor clearly has no intention of sharing this position in the third game. As for Poirier, he saw through these antics and refused to bow his head to his opponent.
“I do (respect) him,” Poirier said despite all this. “I don’t hate anyone here. I’m in a different position mentally, man. Respect him and everything he does.”
Maybe this is what McGregor needs to reach his full potential. It is not clear whether these insults and personal attacks will have any impact on Poirier’s entry into the trilogy battle. But the elements of finding familiarity and adapting to the comfort zone seem very real.
Since the stakes on Saturday’s game are so high, every small advantage is important.