LOS ANGELES — Conor McGregor has three fights in the UFC, none against ranked opponents. Dustin Poirier is currently sitting at No. 5 among featherweight contenders in the UFC.
So you’d think McGregor would concede that Poirier will be his toughest test when the two meet at UFC 178 on Sept. 27 in Las Vegas, right? Not exactly.
"I don’t see anything in him," McGregor said Tuesday at a fan event at Club Nokia in Downtown LA. "I see a basic fighter with a weak chin and a weak heart. Not particularly against other people, but he will break against me. He’ll break before the contest and he’ll break during it. It’s a first-rounder. It’s a first-round KO."
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McGregor is pretty unpredictable. You don’t really know what he’s going to say, but you do have an idea of what direction he’ll go in. To say the Irishman doesn’t show much respect toward his opponents would be an understatement. McGregor was in full form Tuesday, thrashing Poirier in a backstage media scrum before entertaining fans during a Q&A session where he nearly stole the show from headliners Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier.
I know deep down he doesn’t want this contest. He’s in over his head here.
-Conor McGregor on Dustin Poirier
"I know deep down he doesn’t want this contest," McGregor said of Poirier. "He’s in over his head here. I believe he’s on the downslide, he’s deteriorating skill-wise and his chin, he gets dropped every single contest. … I don’t hit like the other guys. I’m gonna hit him and he’s gonna hit the canvas."
McGregor (15-2) is coming off a first-round TKO of Diego Brandao last month in his hometown of Dublin. He had the entire O2 going crazy for the fight and the city was whipped into a frenzy. McGregor was the main event, he was the center of attention and he was the favorite son of arguably the greatest, loudest crowd in UFC history.
This time around, the 26-year-old will be just another fighter on a stacked pay-per-view card headlined by the biggest fight of the year — Jones vs. Cormier. McGregor said it won’t bother him.
"I don’t give a s*** about that," McGregor said. "All I’m going to do is go out and rip Dustin’s head off. He’s going to collapse hard on that canvas. And that’s all I need to do."
There’s no doubt that McGregor is at least as skilled in selling a fight as he is at winning fights. But does he have an off switch? Is this just a role he’s playing? Or is he "The Notorious" all day long?
"I think people think this is an act for the cameras or some s*** like that," McGregor said. "They’ll learn pretty soon. … As far as the cameras, I don’t care about the cameras. I’m going to go in and I’m going to put [Poirier] away. When he wakes up, with his nose on the other side of his face, he’s going to know it’s got nothing to do with the cameras and this guy is next level and he will know that."
All that being said, McGregor doesn’t think Poirier is a bad guy, at all. He’s just another opponent in the way of what McGregor wants: the UFC featherweight title currently held by Jose Aldo.
"It’s nothing personal," McGregor said. "He’s a quiet little hillbilly kid. I’ve got nothing against the guy. But business is not personal. It’s ruthless and it’s cruel, but it’s not personal."