UFC star Dustin Poirier revealed his pick for the highly anticipated clash between Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler.
The Louisiana bruiser’s coming off a hard-fought war with top-ranked lightweight contender Chandler at UFC 281 three months ago. After stumbling early in the bout, Poirier turned the tides back in his favor and dispatched ‘Iron’ Mike in the third round by rear-naked choke.
Chandler had been rallying for a shot at McGregor for the last year and a half. He delivered a thrilling callout of the former two-division champion following his vicious knockout of Tony Ferguson at UFC 274 last May.
This past Saturday, UFC president Dana White announced McGregor will make his comeback against Chandler later this year. The pair will compete as coaches first on the upcoming season of the reality mixed martial arts competition show “The Ultimate Fighter.” It will mark the return of McGregor, who was last seen in action against Poirier at UFC 264 last July when he succumbed to a horrific leg break injury that kept him on the sideline for an extended period of time.
Poirier Predicts McGregor v Chandler
In an interview with “Weighing In,” ‘Diamond’ shared his thoughts on who will likely come out on top of the contest between the ‘Notorious’ and Chandler.
“Either guy can win,” Poirier said (transcribed by BJPenn.com). “I think if Conor comes back with the same timing and speed that he had before the injury, if he comes back to that, he’s gonna stop Chandler. Chandler’s very hittable. Conor’s a guy that when you’re in front of him, it looks like he can’t touch you, but he touches you.
“He’s longer than he looks when he’s in there. He uses his length and speed and timing really well to close that distance.”
As someone who has experience fighting and beating both men inside the octagon, Poirier believes McGregor has the upper hand. However, there is speculation about whether McGregor would be able to return in the same form as he was before the injury.
Poirier Laid Out a Game Plan for Chandler
He laid out the ideal game plan for Chandler to utilize against the Irish icon but doubts it would be effective if McGregor returned as usual.
“Chandler’s a guy who needs explosive movements to get in and out. If Conor’s timing’s the same, I think he hurts Chandler,” he continued. “It’s gonna be a five-round fight, Conor doesn’t fight co-mains or three-round fights. So, if Chandler can get in there, get some blood in his legs, and get him to wrestle hard for the first few rounds, maybe it goes different. But if Conor has any similarity to who he used to be before the injury and before the layoff, I think he stops Chandler. He’s just too hittable.”
Although Poirier finds Chandler an easy target inside the cage, he praised the latter’s toughness to power through the damage.
“But I will give him this, he is more durable than I thought he’d be,” he added. “I really thought I’d get him out of there when I hit him with some good clean shots and he was still there. We’ll see.”