Daniel Cormier gives thoughts on his experience in trilogy fights ahead of UFC 264
One of the biggest trilogy fights in UFC history goes down on Saturday at UFC 264, as Conor McGregor takes on Dustin Poirier in the biggest non-title UFC main event in recent memory.
Before this series of fights, the biggest trilogy in the UFC took place almost a year ago, as Daniel Cormier took on then UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic.
Daniel Cormier was on hand for media availability on Friday afternoon after the official UFC 264 weigh-ins. Answering questions concerning his experience with trilogy bouts and rematches.
“It’s the most nerve-wracking thing you’ve ever done,” he said. “You’re scared, you’re wondering what could have changed. The reality is, there are not many secrets left. Only small details will change between fight, one, two, and fight number three.”
The former UFC light-heavyweight and heavyweight champion turned UFC commentator believes that McGregor may have the upper hand in the trilogy fight, solely because of the spectacle of the event.
“For a guy like Conor McGregor, this matters, and Dustin Poirier doesn’t like it,” Cormier said. “He [Poirier] understands what’s in front of him because every time he goes in front of a crowd, they’re booing him. In those spots where he was the guy that in foreign territory when the crowd was completely on the opposite side. He didn’t really do that well.”
Poirier has been in hostile territory before, losing to McGregor in front of a large contingent of Irish supporters in Vegas back in 2014. As well as losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov back at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi. Cormier relates to Poirier on this front, as he himself experienced the wrath of a hostile crowd when he took on Jon Jones on two occasions.
“When [Poirier] fought Max Holloway, we were in Atlanta, that was 50/50,” he said. “In most places, it’s 50/50, unless you fight those massive stars, and Dustin recognizes that. I dealt with it with Jones. It really sucks when you don’t know what you did to make these people turn against you, and then you gotta go out and fight.”
Daniel Cormier believes short fight camp might hurt Conor McGregor’s chances.
McGregor comes into UFC 264 just six months after his sequel bout with Poirier back at UFC 257. It marks the first time since winning the UFC lightweight gold back in 2016 over Eddie Alvarez; that McGregor has returned to the octagon more than once in a calendar year.
“It feels like there should have been more time for him to go and address those leg kicks,” Cormier said. “The only reason that happens is [because] Conor doesn’t generally fight southpaws. So because Dustin is a southpaw, he can land those outside kicks.’ he explained.
Poirier was the opponent of choice for McGregor when he chose to make his return earlier this year. McGregor expressed an interest in fighting the south-paw Poirier, as he was reportedly preparing for a cross-over fight with Manny Pacquiao, a fellow southpaw. Cormier expressed a little bit of doubt in the notion that McGregor could train to evade the Poirier leg kicks in just six months’ time.
“Generally, those kicks are coming from the outside from a conventional fighter. Six months to learn to check and defend those low leg kicks seems fast.’ Cormier added, ‘But if you’re going not to doubt anyone, it’s Conor McGregor.”