Conor McGregor’s boxing skills will be too sharp and too powerful for Dustin Poirier when the pair meet in their eagerly-anticipated rematch at UFC 257, according to the man who started the Irishman on his combat sports journey.
Former Irish Olympian turned boxing coach Phil Sutcliffe was McGregor’s first boxing coach, and guided the young Dubliner in his learning of “The Sweet Science” from the age of 12.
McGregor’s switch from boxing to MMA saw the pair split, but now they’re working together again, with McGregor training under Sutcliffe’s tutelage as he sharpens his striking ahead of his rematch with Poirier on Fight Island on January 23.
Ahead of the fight, Sutcliffe told McGregor’s media outlet “The Mac Life” that his charge is in a class of his own in MMA when it comes to the striking arts.
“I tell most of our boxers, learn how to read, learn how to see the shots coming. He has that with fine art,” he said.
“He’s the Muhammad Ali of the UFC.
“He always had the ability to not get hit and reading the punches even as a child.
“He is able to move his head, bob, weave, and the work ethic of him is unbelievable.”
And while Sutcliffe said he was impressed with McGregor’s opponent Poirier’s toughness, he wasn’t overly enamored with the American’s striking abilities.
“Skill-wise, no. Toughness, yes,” he explained.
“I know Conor knocked him early, but Conor’s (got) too much boxing ability. Poirier comes straight at you, his arms are wide open.
“Conor will be able to get his shots or his kicks or anything in there like he did the last time. Now hopefully he’s more powerful now than he was – Conor’s more powerful now and so will the other guy be a little more powerful because he’s had to put on a bit of weight.
“But Conor’s skill’s percentage towards Poirier’s skill percentage is much bigger. Not saying it’s going to be an easy fight, but Conor has the skill and the strength now. He’s stronger now than he was the last time he fought him. Conor hits very, very hard, but precisely with technique. He hits with precision.”