Conor McGregor’s team-mate and former UFC fighter Artem Lobov has suggested that ‘Notorious’ took Dustin Poirier “lightly” in the pair’s rematch in January.
Poirier knocked out McGregor in the second round at UFC 257, handing the Irishman the first KO loss of his career and exacting revenge for a 2014 defeat by the former dual-weight UFC champion.
That first meeting seven years ago was contested at featherweight, while the rematch was a lightweight bout.
McGregor and Poirier are set to complete the trilogy when they go head-to-head in the main event of UFC 264 on 10 July, and Lobov has said his team-mate will have made the necessary adjustments to defeat the American once more.
“Conor is a very, very smart fighter,” the Russian said on the Bareknuckle Uncensored podcast.
“I just feel the last fight he maybe took it a little bit lightly and thought: ‘I’ll just show up and do what I do and destroy him.’
“Not only that, he was already mentally and physically getting ready for a boxing fight, so he wasn’t thinking leg kicks – no MMA. He just thought it was going to be the same way as the first fight.”
Lobov, who has competed in Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship since leaving the UFC in 2019, was referring to a potential boxing match between McGregor, 32, and Manny Pacquiao, while the leg kicks mentioned by the Russian played a key role in Poirier’s victory on ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi.
“We have to give credit to Dustin,” Lobov said ahead of the UFC 264 main event at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. “He’s done his homework. He’s improved a lot since the first fight and he did a good job.
“But I think now when Conor is switched on, he knows what’s up. His full focus is on this fight.
“He’s studied [Poirier], he looked at what the issues were in the second fight and, honestly, when Conor shows up like that, there’s no stopping him.
“So I see him stopping Dustin early – first, maybe second round. I want to say first. My prediction is first round, but it could go into the second.”
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