Dustin Poirier made Conor McGregor “panic” during their clash at UFC 257 last month, says former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.
McGregor was knocked out for the first time in his career against Poirier on Fight Island, meaning he has missed out on a proposed boxing showdown with Manny Pacquiao later this year.
The Irishman was destabilised by a series of brutal leg kicks during the fight, which allowed Poirier to close the show with a spectacular finish and avenge his previous defeat in 2014.
With the score now locked at 1-1, the pair could seal a famous trilogy by going head-to-head in a rubber match next time out.
Alvarez has suffered defeat against both men, with McGregor first knocking him out at UFC 205 back in November 2016.
And after being disqualified in his first encounter with Poirier, he was eventually stopped by the Diamond when they met in a rematch 14 months later.
Thus, there are not many people better placed to comment on Poirier’s win over McGregor last month.
And Alvarez believes Poirier’s “short sprints” proved decisive on the night, insisting they made McGregor “panic” in the Octagon.
“Dustin Poirier putting on them sprints that he puts on, I thought that would be the best way that he could get it done,” he told MMA Junkie.
“I agreed that if he gave Conor the space that Conor can relax and create stuff that he’d have a bad night.
“But Dustin just fought a beautiful game plan by kicking that leg and then putting a short sprint on him and being able to cause him to panic and put him away.”
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McGregor felt he paid the price for overlooking Poirier at UFC 257 with a potential crossover bout against Pacquiao in the pipeline if he claimed victory as expected.
After the defeat, he wrote on Instagram: “Thoughts on the bout: I enjoyed racking up some more time inside the famed UFC Octagon.
“40 seconds in 3 years is all I’d had up to this bout. I was savouring very second and enjoying my work. A little single disciplined in my approach and stance with mostly boxing.
“It’s what I get for picking this bout and opponent as a precursor to a boxing match against Pacman. I deserved to get the legs kicked off me going in with this thinking.
“This is not the game to play around with.”
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