Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier both weigh in at 156lbs for UFC 264 showdown
Poirier was first to officially weigh-in on Friday in Las Vegas and seemed in more of a relaxed mood than an intensely-focused McGregor, who aimed a kick at his rival at the end of a heated press conference 24 hours earlier.
There has been a distinctly edgier build-up to the rubber bout than their January rematch, where the relations were cordial, even friendly, ahead of an encounter in Abu Dhabi where Poirier levelled the rivalry at one win apiece.
On Thursday, McGregor, who won their first fight in September 2014 when the duo were up and coming featherweights, insisted his setback at the start of the year was “a fluke” as he looks to get back to winning ways.
McGregor compared his foe to former heavyweight boxer Buster Douglas, who defied his status as a heavy underdog to defeat then world champion Mike Tyson in February 1990 in one of sport’s greatest upsets.
“He’s Buster Douglas, he’s going to be known for that,” McGregor said at the final press conference. “It was a fluke win and I’m going to correct it on Saturday night.
“This is my bread and butter, this is what wakes me up with fire in my belly – errors to correct, tactics to prepare for. I’ve had a great camp.
“I’m going to go through his head, put holes in them and take it off its shoulders. He’s done here, this is it for him, this is the end of the road. Saturday night he’s getting walked around that octagon and put to sleep.”
Victory for either fighter would likely lead to a title shot against current 155lb champion Charles Oliveira before the year is out, a prospect which is relished by the controversial Irishman, a former two-weight titlist.
Despite three wins and as many defeats in his last six mixed martial arts contests, McGregor believes he is a superior fighter than the one who won lightweight gold by beating Eddie Alvarez in November 2016.
The 32-year-old, who has won 22 and lost five of his 27 MMA contests but is the underdog ahead of this weekend, added: “An evolution of that guy, I’m better than that man. I look forward to showing it on Saturday night.
“That night I won the second world title in Madison Square Garden was widely regarded as the single greatest performance in UFC history. This performance on Saturday night, I’m going to top it.”
Poirier admitted that McGregor “got into my head” before their first fight and the Dubliner seemed to attempt to get a rise out of the American by throwing his signature Louisiana style hot sauce into the crowd on Thursday.
On more than occasion, McGregor referenced Poirier’s wife Jolie, chanting “Jolie’s wife” and saying “your wife is your husband”. Poirier, who holds a record of 27 wins, six defeats and one no-contest in MMA, did not rise to the bait.
“The aura is not there any more,” Poirier said. “He’s a very dangerous fighter, no doubt, but I see a man here in front of me that I’ve defeated and I know I can defeat again.
“It’s just business, I see a man here. I don’t hate anybody, I’m in a different place mentally. Respect to him and everything he’s done.”
Former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos is on hand as a replacement in case anything befalls either of the pair ahead of this weekend’s headliner and the Brazilian-American also came in at 156lbs.