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Editorial: Dustin Poirier has the perfect attitude heading into UFC 257

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Poirier is all business ahead of his January 23, rematch with Conor McGregor

UFC Fight Night: Poirier v Hooker Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

In September 2014, Dustin Poirier walked into the Octagon determined to derail the hype train that was Conor McGregor. One-hundred and six seconds later, Poirier played the part of a coin left on the tracks.

On January 23, the two meet for a second time in the headlining bout of UFC 257. Poirier, who has gone 10-2-0-1 since his TKO loss to McGregor, expects the rematch to be an entirely different fight.

“When I was younger, I used to fight with a lot of emotion,” Poirier told MMA Junkie in November. “This isn’t the same thing for me. This isn’t about getting even for me. This isn’t like a revenge type of thing for me.”

That is precisely the attitude Poirier needs to bring into his rematch with McGregor. One factor that will help Poirier achieve that is he is a more mature, seasoned and confident fighter. Another element that could assist Poirier is that McGregor does not have as much time and proximity to get into Poirier’s head. Something that Poirier said took place when these two first met.

“I was emotional in the first one,” The 31-year-old married father said. “I wanted to hurt the guy. This time I just want to outsmart him, just want to beat him. This is business. This isn’t any ill will towards the guy.”

Poirier should not have nearly the amount of face-to-face interaction he had with McGregor in the lead-up to their first meeting. The UFC is doing a lot less promotion of that type because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the inability to get the two fighters in the same room should cut down on McGregor’s trash talk.

Today, Poirier looks at McGregor, the erstwhile two-division UFC champion as a means to an end, not someone who briefly flashes on the Irish fighter’s highlight reel.

“This is about moving my career forward, about putting my family in a better spot,” Poirier said. “It’s not trying to get back a guy who got me. This is just business.”

Poirier knows what the business of UFC 257 could bring him and that is the prospect of a second lightweight championship fight, something UFC president Dana White indicated when he was asked about the likely repercussions of the Poirier vs. McGregor scrap. If Poirier wins, business will be excellent for the former interim UFC lightweight champ, but he needs to win. Poirier’s best chance for victory is to approach this fight without considering his initial scrap with McGregor.

“Yeah, whoever wins that fight is probably next in line,” White told Laura Sanko in response to a fan question.

Two weeks before UFC 257, Poirier is saying all the right things. He can’t lose that focus if he hopes to get by McGregor.