UFC 264: Conor McGregor's needless cheap shot at Dustin Poirier shows desperation setting in ahead of crunch clash

Conor McGregor simply posted on Twitter what appeared to be a screenshot of Dustin Poirier's wife Jolie sending him a message request.

Conor McGregor (L) in a file photo. (Image credit: Twitter)
By Shayne Dias | Jul 8, 2021 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Conor McGregor talking trash ahead of a key UFC bout isn’t really news. After all, ‘The Notorious One’ amassed a legion of fans mainly because he talked the talk as well as he walked the walk. Thus, it should come as little surprise that he decided to involve the wife of his opponent Dustin Poirier while hyping up their upcoming UFC 264 bout.

On Wednesday, McGregor simply posted on Twitter what appeared to be a screenshot of Poirier’s wife Jolie sending him a message request on Instagram.

Whether this is legitimate or a mocked-up picture remains unknown. But the tweet remains up and the implication of it is clear.

Whether or not involving someone’s family in something like this is simply ‘going too far’ or ‘mindgames’ is debatable at best. However, it is a familiar tactic for McGregor.

He followed this up with some trademark trash talk on his website. “Every shot I have thrown in this camp is a kill shot, so that’s it. I’m going to kill this man,” McGregor said.

“Just a slaughter and a play with a scared little boy. He’s fighting scared like he always does, like they always do against me, so now I’m going to play with the little boy, play with me food, and then just devour it.”

Again, this is obvious and standard fare for the Irishman. But what’s also obvious is that McGregor is now truly desperate to win.

The real question here is will it matter against an opponent who only recently beat him in convincing fashion?

Can Conor McGregor avoid a decline?

The truth of the matter is that the fighting Irishman is hurt by the losses. After all, losing is not something he did often in his UFC career.

Prior to Khabib Nurmagomedov submitting him to win the UFC lightweight championship, McGregor’s only loss in the organisation came against Nate Diaz at UFC 196.

In fact, the Diaz loss was swiftly avenged as McGregor beat him in a rematch at UFC 202. However, it was the loss to Khabib that really hurt his stock.

The man from Dagestan took away Conor’s title then added insult to injury – literally so – by looking to beat up his entourage right after the match.

After that match, McGregor retired – again – and then un-retired – yet again. He came back in 2020, beating Donald Cerrone in dominant fashion at UFC 246.

But any hope of a comeback run at the lightweight championship was forgotten when Poirier won their rematch at UFC 257. That he did so by TKO in just the second round put the exclamation point on an already dominant win.

Perhaps it is the manner of that defeat that’s prompted McGregor to go back to the old well of tricks. After all, if it worked once it will work again right?

Yet it is also worth noting that similar attempts at psychological warfare on Khabib didn’t help. In fact, it arguably only angered the Dagestani fighter further.

The same mistake twice?

Of course, the manner at which Conor went at Khabib – his toughest rival till that point – makes the Poirier jibes seem like schoolyard stuff.

First there was the infamous bus attack. Then the press conference potshots at his religion, which continued on Twitter later on. And while McGregor might have seen it as mind games, Khabib channeled the anger during their fight.

Which begs the question as to whether McGregor should abandon or tone down these tactics. Their effectiveness is questionable at best and counter productive at worst.

Poirier will most likely be fired up by the jibe. And as an old foe of McGregor’s, he’s likely to have been expecting these mind games.

Of course, a McGregor loss means he won’t be in line for a shot at Charles Oliveira and the lightweight championship. It will also be a bad sign for his UFC future.

McGregor might have transcended the sport, but his fortunes are still linked to his showings in the Octagon. Another high profile defeat could well be a big blow for not just his pre-match warfare but possibly his career too.

At least as far as championships and main events are concerned.