UFC superstar Conor McGregor has been channeling a younger version of himself in recent weeks. Where the superstar’s prefight talk back in January 2020 before his UFC 246 showdown against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone was all about how much the Irishman had grown and changed into a more mature version of himself, the one that’s emerged since his stoppage loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 in January 2021 is more about lashing out at anyone and everyone he might happen to bump into.
Over recent days, McGregor has ripped into the likes of UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul, and several other notable figures in sports via social media. That comes on the heels of the relatively recent revelation that McGregor never actually donated that $500,000 he publicly promised to Poirier’s hometown charity before his last fight.
Regardless, no matter what his antics are outside the Octagon, at least one all-star MMA pundit believes McGregor’s inside the cage life essentially comes down to just one important question.
“Does he want this?”
Former UFC star and current PFL commentator Kenny Florian believes the answer to that query is what will ultimately determine how well McGregor does in his upcoming third fight against Poirier at UFC 264 on July 10 as well as whatever contests follow it.
You can watch Florian chat about the topic below.
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Florian Wonders: ‘Tough To Know What’s Going On In His Head’
Florian wonders where McGregor’s head is these days.
“He’s had so many different things happen to him over the years. He’s gone from being a hungry fighter to a huge massive star, to a multi, multi-millionaire…There have been so many things that have transpired over the last several years of his career, it’s tough to know what’s going on in his head,” Florian said.
So the ex-UFC star is curious about which version of McGregor will show up to fight Poirier. Will it be the same one that thought he could prepare for his desired boxing match against Manny Pacquiao by competing in a cage fight against the No. 1 contender in the UFC’s stacked 155-pound division? Or somebody smarter?
“Is he hungry again? Does he want this? Is he going to approach this as a boxer…a striker, as a mixed martial artist? I think in order for Conor to win this fight, he’s going to have to bring back the mixed martial artist, the true martial artist, who is trying to integrate all of his weapons, not just some of his weapons and not expecting a certain result,” McGregor.
Before his rematch against Poirier at UFC 257 three months ago, McGregor seemed to believe a fast stoppage was on the way due to the Irishman having stopped Poirier in the first fight in 2014.
“Anytime you go out there and try to expect a certain result in a fight you kind of screw yourself. Sometimes it works out for you, but many times it does not,” Florian said.
So the third fight will come down to McGregor getting back to doing what he does best. Sure, McGregor is one of the top boxers in MMA, but Florian believes the best version of McGregor inside the cage is one who doesn’t limit himself to just one style or even just one idea about how the fight will unfold.
“What makes Conor McGregor such a great fighter is his creativity, when he’s putting it all together and feeling the moment. I didn’t see any of that in his last fight against Dustin even if he was winning portions of the fight,” Florian said.
Early Prediction for UFC 264: ‘You Just Never Know’
McGregor is the slight favorite over Poirier in the third fight according to bookies, and Florian seems to feel the same way.
“So I do think it’s definitely a winnable fight for him. Dustin is as tough as they come, so Conor is going to have to be prepared. There’s no doubt about it. He’s going to have to be hungry. He’s going to have to have his training on point. If he does that, I think he can win the fight,” Florian.
But Florian stopped short of calling UFC 264 a sure-thing victory for McGregor.
“If he doesn’t, it’s gonna be another Dustin win…You just never know what Conor McGregor is going to show up.”
PFL 2 on April 29
The third season of the Professional Fighters League (PFL) continues on April 29 at the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The action will include match-ups in the welterweight and light heavyweight divisions, and Florian will be doing cageside commentary with ex-UFC champ Randy Couture and Sean O’Connell.
PFL 2 begins at 5:30 pm ET on ESPN+ and continues at 9 pm ET on ESPN2.
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