Conor McGregor is conscious about going 1-2 against both Dustin Poirier and Nate Diaz, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) analyst Dan Hardy suggests.
McGregor’s trash talk was almost universally panned in the aftermath of his ankle break (watch here) in the Poirier trilogy fight at UFC 264, which took place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV on Sat., July 10. Wishing death upon Poirier and his family was an alarming contrast to a younger McGregor, who was often respectful in defeat and conjured such gems as “red panty night” and “who the fook is that guy?”
Hardy, who is expecting to return to active competition under the ONE Championship banner following a nine-year hiatus, thinks McGregor is feeling the pressure.
“I think through his featherweight career and moving up to lightweight and welterweight, I think a big part of his trash talk and attitude and respectfulness was that he was enjoying himself,” Hardy tells MMAMania.com. “He was really enjoying the process, he was eating through the competition. He was making loads of money, winning bets on the side with Lorenzo [Fertitta]. He was having a good time with it. I think the pressure starts to change when you start talking about trilogies because then you could talk about someone having two victories over you and you can’t get that back because why would they fight you again?
“I think Conor McGregor, sitting on the canvas with a broken ankle looking at Dustin Poirier celebrating for a second time, I think a part of him was probably alerted to the fact that it might be slipping away from him. That it might be a long road back to where he was when he was enjoying himself. The pressure that comes with being where he’s at, we can only really imagine. None of us have been in that situation. He’s changed the game. He’s in uncharted waters. I do think there is an addictiveness to that level of attention. An ankle injury, a second loss to the same person.”
Hardy (25-10-0-1) suggests the same line of thinking is responsible for the delayed rubber match between McGregor and Diaz.
“It’s also the reason we haven’t seen the [third] Nate Diaz fight,” the former UFC analyst says. “I think the reality is that the third Nate Diaz fight might be a nail in that coffin. It would be a really tough fight for him. I think he’s realistic about that so I think he’s biding his time and waiting to cash that check. It’s a long road back now. Regardless of how he does it or who he faces, he’s got a lot to prove to himself and the fans. I hope he has the energy to do it because I would definitely like to see him back in there.”
Diaz (20-13) and McGregor (22-6) have fought twice at Welterweight. The Stockon native won their first fight via second-round submission at UFC 196 in March 2016. “The Notorious” one took the rematch via majority decision at UFC 202 in August of the same year.
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