UFC – Firas Zahabi: Conor McGregor Gave Up Without A Fight
McGregor made an aggressive start to the fight, but Poirier was able to weather the early storm, before he upped the ante in the second round, using crushing calf kicks followed by heavy blows to his opponent’s head to win the fight.
McGregor Gave Up
While Poirier deserves all the credit for his masterful performance, world renowned trainer Firas Zahabi said on his YouTube channel (as transcribed by Bloody Elbow) that he believes McGregor’s morale hit rock bottom when he couldn’t hurt ‘The Diamond’ with his best shots.
“In the second round, when McGregor was getting hit along the fence. I found it strange that he wasn’t — it seemed like he had already gave up on the fight,” Zahabi said. “Before he hit the canvas, I felt like he had given up on the fight, because things were getting tough.
“The fight was getting tough. His left hand didn’t work, and he’s not used to that. He’s not used to hitting guys with the big left, and then [they] keep fighting. McGregor, in the second round, dropped his best card. He landed that perfect left hand, the one he’s relied on his entire career. But for one reason or another, it didn’t work.”
The Tristar head coach not only complemented Poirier on his composure when he got hit, but suggested that McGregor appeared agitated every time he had a shot land on him.
“Poirier did not go down, and it seemed that McGregor got emotional about it. He started covering up, he was getting hit, but it didn’t look like he was trying to circle out and survive,” Zahabi continued. “He looked like a guy who was like ‘this is the end, I better do something.’ He threw a few punches, but they were like — almost desperate.
“He seemed to get emotional. I looked at his face and he was very very emotional. Whereas if you contrast that with Poirier, when Poirier got hit… he was cool and looking for his next move.”
Heart Of A Warrior
Zahabi had picked McGregor to win beforehand because he believed the Irishman had more paths to victory, but it was Poirier’s grit that made the difference on the night.
“I gave McGregor so many pluses. I told you guys he’s a better boxer, he’s a better counterpuncher, he has better reach, and he’s faced Mayweather in boxing. He has so many advantages, but one thing I said, Poirier has the biggest heart. You can’t deny that,” Zahabi noted. “We saw the will to win overcome skill and technique. McGregor has beautiful skill and technique, punching mechanics. Even towards to the end, his head movement was excellent.”
Since his first fight against McGregor at UFC 178 in 2014, Poirier has had several hard-fought battles with some of the best fighters in the UFC. He’s been battered and bruised on a numerous occasions, yet has found ways to overcome the challenges in front of him. Zahabi believes ‘The Notorious’ has rarely ever experienced adversity on the feet, and as a result had no answer when he was forced into a fight or flight situation.
“In my opinion, he’s not used to weathering storms,” Zahabi continued. “All the hard fights Poirier had, they all led him to this win last weekend. All those hard fights, those blood and guts fights he’s had, they’ve toughened him up mentally. The barrage of punches he was taking would’ve put a lesser seasoned fighter out.
“If you look at McGregor. The punches he took at the end of the fight, that would not have put Poirier out. If you disagree, please look at the Poirier-Hooker fight. You can see that what happened to McGregor at the end of the fight, was happening all for 15 minutes between Poirier and Dan Hooker. When McGregor gets into a heated battle, it seems like he folds. It seems like he will fold faster than Poirier by far.”
What do you think of Firas Zahabi’s post-fight analysis of the UFC 257 main event between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor?