Conor McGregor’s boxing skills will be too sharp and too powerful for Dustin Poirier when the two meet in their highly anticipated rematch at UFC 257, according to the man who started the Irishman on his martial arts journey.
Former Irish Olympic gold medalist who became a boxing coach, Phil Sutcliffe, was McGregor’s first boxing coach and guided the young Dubliner learning “The Sweet Science” from the age of 12.
McGregor’s move from boxing to MMA resulted in the two breaking up, but they are now working together again. McGregor trains under Sutcliffe’s tutelage as he sharpens his punch before his rematch with Poirier on Fight Island on January 23rd.
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Prior to the fight, Sutcliffe told McGregor’s media network “The Mac Life” that his charge of strike arts was in a class of its own in MMA.
“I tell most of our boxers, learn to read, learn how the shots come. He did that with the fine arts,” he said.
“He’s the UFC’s Muhammad Ali.
“Even as a child he had the ability not to be hit and read the punches.
“He can move his head, bob, weave and his work ethic is incredible.”
And while Sutcliffe said he was impressed with McGregor’s toughness and Poirier’s tenacity, he wasn’t particularly in love with the American’s hitting skills.
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“Skilful, no. Tenacity, yes,” he explained.
“I know Conor hit him early, but Conors (has) too much boxing ability. Poirier comes right up to you, his arms wide open.
“Conor will be able to get his shots or his kicks or anything like he did last time. Hopefully now he’s more powerful than he was – Conor is more powerful now and the other will be a bit more powerful too because it is he had to gain some weight.
“But Conor’s percentage of skills versus Poirier’s percentage is much greater. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be an easy fight, but Conor now has the ability and strength. He’s stronger now than the last fight against him . Conor hits very, very hard, but precisely with technique. He hits with precision. “