Not even a teep kick to the groin from Conor McGregor during the ending staredown could rattle Dustin Poirier at the UFC 264 press conference on Thursday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
For 25 minutes, McGregor, who will face Poirier in a trilogy fight Saturday on ESPN+ pay-per-view, put on the same brash, drink-stirring persona he’s gone to for so many of these pressers — a costume he mothballed before Poirier scored a second-round TKO in their January rematch. None of it shook a Poirier who at one point boiled down the exact reason why the mind games won’t work on him.
“I just don’t care about this stuff anymore,” Poirier told the assembled masses and viewers at home on ESPN networks.
McGregor dug deep into his bag of trash-talking tricks, several times bringing Poirier’s wife Jolie, who helps run the family’s nonprofit The Good Fight Foundation. After lobbing an ostensible manhood-insulting “your wife is your husband” jab, the Irishman goaded some fans into a “Jolie’s wife” chant.
But Poirier had the last laugh, landing an understated verbal right hook with about as much force as the one which slept McGregor on Jan. 24.
“You used to be a lot better than that,” a relaxed Poirier countered. “The trash talk used to be a lot better than that. F–king weak.”
Later, McGregor attempted to draw a parallel between that loss and the night Mike Tyson’s aura of invincibility was shattered by one of combat sports’ most stunning upsets 31 years ago.
“He’s Buster Douglas! He’s Buster Douglas is who he is,” the animated McGregor shouted into his hand microphone, invoking the name of the first man to defeat Tyson. “It was a fluke win, and I’m gonna correct it on Saturday night.”
The comparison isn’t very apt, given Poirier’s status as a former interim lightweight champion who many believe is the top 155-pound fighter even ahead of champion Charles Oliveira, after Khabib Nurmagomedov retired without a loss last October.
McGregor’s chatter didn’t seem to ring the crowd into the typical frenzy when whipping out one-liners. And while the same could be said of Poirier’s — granted, in front of a clearly pro-McGregor crowd — many of his quips appeared to hit their mark without a retort from the loquacious Irishman.
At one point, McGregor was asked why he dropped the nice-guy veneer from before the last fight and returned to “The Notorious” venom-spitting of his UFC prime. But Poirier took it upon himself to answer on behalf of his foe.
“Because he got knocked the f–k out,” Poirier said with coldness.
McGregor never answered for himself. Instead, Poirier hit a rhythm with perhaps the line of the night.
“Not McGregor fast; McGregor sleep.”