Dustin Poirier has agreed with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s sentiment that he will be at more of an advantage against Conor McGregor the longer their fight goes on.
Nurmagomedov was a legendary and undefeated champion before retiring last year with a record of 29-0, including wins over both McGregor and Poirier.
And the Russian predicted that Poirier would win the trilogy, assuming he could make it out of the first round and drag McGregor into deep waters.
“It’s the same thing [as the previous fight],” the former lightweight champion told UFC Russia. “If it’s the first round [for a finish], I’d back Conor.
“From the second and further, then Dustin [wins].”
And Poirier agreed with the assessment, saying that it isn’t an issue specific to fighting McGregor, who is known for issues with cardio, but any fighter due to his own impressive gas tank.
“I think with any fight, not just Conor, if it stretches out, I start getting my rhythm, my timing and it’s bad for anybody,” Poirier told SportsCenter.
“I really believe that I’m one of the best lightweight fighters in the world and the longer I’m in there, the more comfortable I get and the worse it is for my opponent.
“A lot of people bring up Conor’s cardio, they think he might not last in the fourth and fifth round but I don’t even think about that stuff in camp.
“I expect this guy to push the pace for 25 minutes, we’ll find out Saturday night if we get to that point, but I expect the best from my opponent.
“But I just know the longer the fight unfolds and blossoms, if you will, I will be the better fighter.
“Whoever makes the first mistake, who capitalises on the first opening,” Poirier said. “I think whoever is locked in when that opportunity presents itself is going to be the victor.
“This is a game of very small room for error, we’re the two best in the world at finishing people, putting ourselves in harms way to get that finish.
“So when you have two guys like that, the first mistake is hugely detrimental and I really believe that the first person to make that mistake is going to get that ‘L’ on their record.”
Louisiana native Poirier knocked out McGregor in their January rematch, having utilised his calf kicks to brutally shut down McGregor’s ability to land power shots.
The pair had a back-and-forth first round, which the judges awarded to McGregor, but Poirier stopped McGregor in the second for the first time via knockout in his MMA career.
They fought for the first time on the undercard of UFC 178 in 2014, with the Irishman coming out on top within just two minutes by way of an early knockout.
And the winner on Saturday night is expected to be the first contender to newly-crowned lightweight champion Charles Oliveira’s title.