Dustin Poirier may have executed the perfect gameplan against Conor McGregor at UFC 257.
‘The Diamond’ revealed at the post-fight press conference in Abu Dhabi that the calf kicks he used to chop down McGregor’s lead leg were an instrumental part of his gameplan for the fight and that the goal was to slow ‘The Notorious’ down early.
“Mike Brown was real big on me throwing calf kicks in this fight,” Poirier said, per MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz. “Really big on it, and it worked. We compromised his leg and he was in bad position early, just from the repeated leg kicks.
“Even when he started checking, he wasn’t contacting with the shin, like a small rotation more, I would’ve been paying for those kicks, but I was still getting the muscle of his leg and that part of your leg and muscle is so small and thin that you can’t take many shots there. After the second leg kick, I knew he was hurting.”
Poirier, who KO’d McGregor in the second round, had no problem throwing kicks because he knew there was no real threat of a takedown and, even if McGregor did take him down, the American Top Team product was confident enough in his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to deal with Conor from his back.
“I just know from experience how bad those things hurt,” Poirier said. “And I knew it was a five-round fight so it would only get worse. He started catching it and trying to counter it with his left hand towards the end, but I knew they were still landing. He was catching it after they were making contact. I knew that was still hurting him.
“And if he did catch it and take me down, then I was gonna – it’s a five-round fight. Of course you never wanna give up a round, but I’d to throw some submissions up and see what happens, you know? I’m a black belt in jiu-jitsu and I’m very confident in my jiu-jitsu, but I knew the leg kicks would be a problem because Jim Miller tore my leg up and that was a three-round fight, and I just know how painful it is.”
Poirier’s next fight is expected to be for the vacant lightweight title but no opponent has been announced as of yet.