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Dustin Poirier on fighting with emotion: McGregor ‘really messed with my head’

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The top UFC lightweight from ATT recalls his fight with Conor McGregor and how it changed his approach to MMA.

MMA: UFC 178-McGregor vs Poirier Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Poirier is once again on the cusp of title contention. No, not at featherweight. This time around, he’s rebuilt himself as a standout lightweight fighter, with wins over Carlos Diego Ferreira, Yancy Medeiros, Joe Duffy, and most recently Bobby Green. The Green fight was especially impressive.

Bobby Green is a longtime, top tier vet, the kind of fighter who only tends to lose to other very good competition, and even in his losses has tended to be a very tough out. Poirier walked through him in just under 3 minutes of the first round. It was the first KO loss of Green’s career, and a win that really solidified Poirier’s rebuilding process.

Although he didn’t quite put it that way himself, Poirier alluded as much in a recent interview with FloCombat. In the interview he talked about (among other things) his tendency to fight with emotion and how it cost him against Conor McGregor and made him rethink his approach:

“I’ve always been an emotional fighter and that emotion fueled a lot of my early performances,” Poirier says as he places his coffee back on the table top. “I would get angry because I’m about to step in there and go toe-to-toe with someone who is trying to hurt me just like I intend to hurt them, and that energy shifts gears into that kill or be killed mindset.

“I always saw it as a plus but the Conor [McGregor] fight was the turning point. I remember I was backstage getting ready to walk out and I saw him and he threw this smile and pointed at me. I don’t know why but it really got to me, man. It really messed with my head. I mean I’m about to go out and fight this dude and he’s back there smiling at me? After that fight I knew I had to find a different way to use my emotion.”

And while that may have been something of an Achilles heel for him in the past, Poirier pointed to his latest success as a sign of just how far he’s come.

“Put it this way, Bobby Green tried to do the exact same sh**,” Poirier says leaning back in the booth. “And it didn’t work out too well for him.”

Poirier is currently without a fight, as the top of the lightweight division looks to be sorting itself out with a bunch of ranked fighter matchups. That should leave “the Diamond” in good position to get a high profile fight coming off a win in the near future. There’s plenty more in the Flo Combat piece, including Poirier’s plans for a cooking show, so check the whole thing out.