Dustin Poirier utilized calf kicks to massive success against Conor McGregor in their rematch at UFC 257, which is why ‘The Diamond’ expects ‘The Notorious’ to implement the same strategy in their upcoming trilogy bout at UFC 264.
“For me, whenever those low calf kicks first started getting more popular, and I’m a southpaw so for these calf kicks to work, it has to be against another southpaw,” Poirier, who battered McGregor’s lead leg with calf kicks before finishing him with a flurry of punches against the fence, told Teddy Atlas in a recent interview (h/t Farah Hannoun of MMA Junkie). “I fought Jim Miller a few years ago back in New York at the Barclay Center, and he was the first guy to use them against me, and after that fight, my leg was so damaged, I had a whole new respect for the calf kick, the low leg kick game, and I’m expecting Conor to do the same now.”
“He felt how crippling those kicks and how painful those kicks are and how much it changes the dynamic of a fight that I think he’s going to try and use them against me now. I really do, and that’s what I started doing, I started trying to use them every chance I got after I was hurt with them.”
Poirier acknowledges that it would be wise of McGregor to switch up his gameplan with leg kicks but warned the former UFC two-division champ that he has his own ‘tool bag full of tricks’ that he plans to unveil on fight night.
“I’m working on still landing my offense with my low kicks, but now I’m working on defending a lot more than I used to,” Poirier said. “Just like in that fight, if he would have started checking those kicks, or if I would have been getting taken down because I was chasing that leg kick, then I would have called an audible and gone with something else. I just used them because they were there, it was damaging him, he wasn’t making the right decisions to start defending them, and I knew how much they hurt, and I knew it was going to change the fight. He wouldn’t be able to plant and throw. That power, his mobility would be taken away. The same thing in this one. If the kicks are there, I’m going to use them. If not, I’ve got a tool bag full of tricks that I can’t wait to show you guys.”
Poirier is tied 1-1 with McGregor, with both men winning their respective bouts via TKO. The upcoming trilogy will headline UFC 264 on July 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.