Conor McGregor believes there was an unfamiliar path to victory he could have taken to defeat Dustin Poirier at UFC 257.
The UFC 257 main event saw Dustin Poirier pick up the TKO victory over Conor McGregor in the second round. It was a competitive first round, but McGregor seemed to have the slight edge by outlanding Poirier with punches and his now-signature shoulder strikes among other blows. Indeed, McGregor won the first round on all three judges’ scorecards, but those scorecards were rendered nil by The Diamond by the end of the second round.
Conor McGregor Contemplates Major Strategy Change In Trilogy
It wasn’t just the striking exchanges that McGregor believes he was winning, he also feels that he was getting the better of the grappling battle. In fact, McGregor thinks that had he continued to grapple with Poirier in the clinch and elsewhere, the contest could have had a different ending. He’s so confident in this that he is even considering adopting a grappling-heavy gameplan if/when the two meet again.
“Fair play to him. It was a smart fight,” McGregor said of Poirier at the UFC 257 post-fight press conference. “He got the shot, he got me down in the first. When I caught a few of them kicks, I should have just pressed him against the fence and just keep beating him in the fence, hit him with a lovely elbow in the temple that hurt him. I should have just kept mauling him. I felt well stronger than him. Well stronger. So maybe I’ll switch up me game the next time I fight Dustin. Maybe you’ll see a grappling side of me the next time me and Dustin go ahead.”
One of the major factors that McGregor attributes to his loss to Poirier was his time away from the Octagon. McGregor had last competed one year ago at UFC 246 against Donald Cerrone, a fight that saw McGregor destroy Cerrone in 20 seconds. McGregor believes that more Octagon time going forward will help in his decision-making and versatility in the heat of battle.
“I just have to keep going and be able to go through the disciplines seamlessly and make the correct decisions in there,” McGregor said. “That can only come with time in the Octagon. You can do a billion rounds outside, but without time inside the Octagon live, it’s a hard thing to do. So got away with it the last whirl but not tonight.”
Can you imagine Conor McGregor ever having a grappling-based victory in the UFC?