Even a month removed from the event, it seems there’s still more to be said about Conor McGregor’s KO defeat to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257. The longtime UFC commentator turned high-profile podcaster had a lot to say about why he felt the former double-champ lost, on the latest episode of the Joe Rogan Experience (w/ Kevin Holland and Travis Lutter).
Rogan may have his detractors for some of his more recent commentary work, but his MMA analysis is generally on point. And the Poirier vs. McGregor fight seems especially ripe for picking apart, with a whole host of interlocking parts that resulted in the shocking finish. For my part, I tend to give credence to the luck-skill continuum. Rogan didn’t take it there, but he, Holland, and Lutter touch on a few non-fight factors.
“He was still pretty fu*king rich when he fought Eddie Alvarez, he was already a multi-millionaire,” Rogan said in response to Kevin Holland’s assertion that McGregor needed to take less of a “rich person’s approach” to fighting (transcription via BJPenn.com). “I don’t necessarily think it’s a rich thing. I don’t know if that affects him that much, but I do think it’s inactivity and do I think Dustin got a lot better.”
Factors like these often present themselves more as latent variables. In hockey, football, or basketball it’s important to be motivated, to be experienced, and to have that personal drive to get better. But as they’re impossible to measure, whatever their value, they’re embedded within the result. McGregor has won while making a lot of money, and lost while making a lot of money. As a factor in his loss at UFC 257 seems largely irrelevant. Rogan probed a few other things, however, most notably those calf kicks.
“The thing is [McGregor] is heavy on that front leg, [he has a] wide karate stance and he’s always doing this,” Rogan explained when asked about a potential rematch. “When that leg is available for the low calf kick that changes everything, changes your whole approach, and Conor is also a guy never been known to switch back and forth. He doesn’t like to have his left leg forward, that’s not a common thing for him.
“So, once his leg is getting chewed up, it’s not like he’s got that option, like he can fight just as good from orthodox.”
Rogan touched on other things as well, including Poirier’s weight cut for featherweight, and overall improvement.
“At 145, Dustin was depleted and diminished. At 155? He’s f-cking huge. He doesn’t even look like a 55er. He looks like a 70; his back is f-cking gigantic. And look at Dustin’s series of victories, look at the people he beat. He beat the sh-t out of Max Holloway. That’s crazy.”
“He beat him with what Max Holloway’s best at, which is standup. You see what Max Holloway did to Calvin Kattar. Jesus Christ, Max Holloway’s standup is amazing.”
Current reports are that the UFC is targeting a rematch between Poirier and McGregor sometime this summer. As the potential last leg of the trilogy approaches, fans can be certain that a lot of the focus will be just on how McGregor plans to deal with Poirier’s kicking game.