For Dustin Poirier, a rematch with Conor McGregor will go very differently for many reasons.
The pair first met each other in a heated featherweight fight back in 2014 that saw McGregor come out on top with a first-round TKO victory.
Poirier, of course, has improved tenfold since that fateful night. He would go on to win 10 of his next 13 fights that notably saw him become the interim lightweight champion in the process.
And with a January 23 rematch with McGregor seemingly on the horizon — now at lightweight — “The Diamond” explained what he has now that the kid who fought the Irishman six years ago didn’t.
“Just a better mindset. A more mature, patient mindset,” Poirier told Jimmy Smith on MMA on SiriusXM. “And of course, over those six years, my skills have evolved. I’ve been at American Top Team evolving, getting better, grinding, learning a lot, man.
“And I expect Conor to be a different fighter as well. It’s a completely different thing at this point in our lives.”
Poirier Been Through McGregor Mental Game
Although McGregor was clearly the better fighter on the night during their first fight, it was also clear that Poirier was affected by the Irishman’s mind games both leading up to and during the bout.
But along with having grown as a fighter, Poirier has also been through the mental warfare the first time which he feels won’t affect him anymore should he face McGregor in January.
“Because back then, I felt like those things were on my mind,” Poirier added. “Those things were creeping in during training camp. The media, the fans, all the naysayers, everything over and over again through social media over again, interviews I watched on TV — that crept in. I felt like I was fighting everybody when I got to the Octagon. I wasn’t just fighting Conor. I was fighting the fans, the organization, the media, the critics — you can’t have all that on your back.
“One of my biggest leaps in the business side and the fighting side is not caring what people say. I just got to keep working, keep moving forward because I know who I am. You can’t tell me who I am because I know already. And I think back then, I knew, but I let those voices and that noise get in and that messed up my performance. Now I don’t care, man. I’m good, I know who I am.”
You can watch the snippet below:
🎥"I felt like I was fighting everybody when I got into the Octagon. I wasn't just fighting Conor, I was fighting the fans, the organization, the media, the critics, everybody."-@DustinPoirier reflects back on his mindset for his first fight with Conor McGregor👊@jimmysmithmma pic.twitter.com/pUO9sTWYXI
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) October 17, 2020