April 11, 2021

Sambaad Patra

Stay updated. Always.

Michael Chandler, Dan Hooker make their predictions for Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier 2 at UFC 257 – MMA Fighting

3 min read

UFC 257 will potentially shape the future of the lightweight division thanks to the high profile main and co-main events.

With reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov reportedly teasing a possible return to action based upon an impressive performance from one of four fighters – Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler and Dan Hooker – the stakes are even higher.

While both Chandler and Hooker are focused on each other, it’s impossible to ignore the magnitude of the main event. McGregor will make his first appearance in the UFC in one year, while Poirier seeks vengeance after he suffered a lopsided loss to the Irish superstar in their previous meeting in 2014.

When it comes to the actual matchup, Chandler sees time as the key to Poirier’s success because McGregor is such an incredibly fast starter, the former interim lightweight champion needs to find a way to survive those early rounds and then he can start dishing out some punishment of his own.

“I say in the later rounds, Conor’s going to have his hands full with Dustin’s ability to withstand damage, his punches in bunches, his volume and the pressure that he can put on Conor with a lot more crisp striking than [Nate] Diaz,” Chandler said when speaking to MMA Fighting. “We’ve seen it in a lot of other fights with Diaz where Diaz was able to kind of wear Conor down and land big shots but Poirier has much more power, a lot more significant precision than a guy like Diaz does. It’s going to be interesting.

“If Poirier can weather those first two rounds, the storm that is Conor McGregor in those first two rounds, it’s going to be a very interesting fight.”

Hooker actually brings first-hand knowledge what it’s like to spend five rounds in the octagon with Poirier after they went to battle this past June.

While he came up short on the scorecards, Hooker took Poirier’s best punches and returned fire with some of his own. After 25 minutes at war with Poirier, Hooker says it would be an absolute mistake to discount his ability to thwart McGregor’s advances, even in those early rounds.

“I give him a good chance,” Hooker said about Poirier beating McGregor. “I think so much has changed, especially in Dustin Poirier’s game since that first fight. I feel like he’s developed so much. He is the most durable guy. Hands down he’s the most durable guy in the division. His cardio and his gas tank are on another level.

“That’s one aspect of the fight where I could see him getting the best of McGregor just with the pace that he pushes and the pressure that he can put on.”

For all the compliments heaped on Poirier’s shoulders ahead of the rematch, it’s still difficult for Chandler or Hooker to pull the trigger and actually pick him to beat McGregor.

In fact, Hooker believes that McGregor really is the class of the lightweight division if Nurmagomedov decides not to return and remain in retirement.

“In my opinion, skill for skill, technique for technique, I feel like Conor McGregor’s the most talented, the most technically sound fighter in the division with the champion retired,” Hooker said.

Chandler said much the same while adding that his interest in the fight definitely matters more if Nurmagomedov stays retired and the UFC needs to crown a new lightweight champion.

“If I’m a betting man, I’ve still got to put my money on Conor,” Chandler said. “Just because he’s got this big time aura about him. A Conor fight week and preparing to fight Conor on Conor’s terms, Conor’s hype, stepping into the cage against Conor, that’s his wheelhouse. Even the first time that Poirier did it, it wasn’t close to what it is now.

“The mystique of the combat sports icon that Conor McGregor is and the aura that he brings to that UFC octagon. We will see if he can last those first two rounds, we’re going to have a really good fight late in round two and round three, round four and round five. I’m going to grab some popcorn and watch cage side and expect to fight the winner.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © All rights reserved. | Newsphere by AF themes.
Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial
error

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Instagram
Telegram