Crumlin Boxing Club coach Phil Sutcliffe thinks Conor McGregor is levels above Dustin Poirier in terms of boxing skill.
Sutcliffe, a two-time boxing Olympian, has been coaching McGregor since he was 10 years old, and the pair have reunited once again ahead of McGregor’s rematch against Poirier in the UFC 257 main event on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi.
McGregor (22-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) was able to make quick work of Poirier (26-6 MMA, 18-5 UFC) when he knocked him out in Round 1 of their 2014 meeting, and Sutcliffe thinks McGregor will be too much for Poirier once again.
Despite Poirier’s knockout wins over the likes of former champions Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje, Sutcliffe was rather dismissive of Poirier’s boxing technique.
When asked if he was impressed with Poirier’s boxing, Sutcliffe told TheMacLife, “Skill-wise, no. Toughness, yes. I know Conor knocked him early, but Conor’s (got) too much boxing ability. Poirier comes straight at you, his arms are wide open. His arms are like this (opens arms wide). 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 precise with technique. He hits with precision.”
McGregor put his boxing skills to test when he entered the ring with one of the greatest boxers of all time in world champion Floyd Mayweather in 2017. Although McGregor was stopped in Round 10, his performance earned respect from both boxing and MMA circles, and he has recently been focusing on his boxing roots to sharpen up his skills.
UFC 257 takes place on Jan. 23 at Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. The event streams live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.
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