Firas Zahabi isn’t giving Dustin Poirier no chance against Conor McGregor at UFC 257, but the Tristar head believes ‘The Notorious’ will have a sizeable 60-40 advantage over ‘The Diamond’ on fight night.
McGregor, who has predicted a 60-second KO finish, TKO’d Poirier in the first round of their 2014 featherweight matchup at UFC 178 and Zahabi believes the Irishman will pull off a similar feat at UFC 257, predicting another early KO victory for the Irishman.
Zahabi, who used to coach former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre, believes McGregor’s striking is simply on another level to Poirier’s.
“I’m not saying Dustin has no chance to win,” Zahabi said on his podcast (h/t Abhinav Kini of Low Kick MMA). “I’m giving it 60-40 in McGregor’s favor. I don’t usually go 60-40 especially at this level. Two elite guys who were world champions. They both have ways to win, they’re both super seasoned, super experienced, super dangerous, they’re both finishers.
“Why am I being so generous? Well, I think this has a lot to do with styles. Conor McGregor is the best counter-puncher in UFC history. There’s never been a counter-puncher like him in MMA. Dustin Poirier‘s number one weapon is boxing so he’s kind of feeding the McGregor machine — exactly what McGregor wants. But because he’s primarily a puncher, and he’s a very good puncher, he’s just not a puncher at the level of a McGregor.”
“McGregor has reached, in my opinion, the highest level of MMA so far,” he added. “I don’t think it will go that far. I think McGregor is going to get his job done in the first two rounds.”
UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor II takes place on Jan. 23 at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.