Dustin Poirier capable of beating Conor McGregor with American better now than Notorious was for 2014 fight, says Sonnen

DUSTIN POIRIER's rematch with Conor McGregor is not a foregone conclusion, according to former UFC standout Chael Sonnen.

Fan favourite Poirier will rematch The Notorious next month in the main event of UFC 257, which is expected to take place on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.


'The Diamond' came up short in his first meeting with the Irishman six years ago, suffering a devastating first-round KO loss at UFC 178.

Poirier's chances of exacting revenge on McGregor have been written off by many, despite the immense improvements he's made since their first clash.

But former middleweight and light-heavyweight title challenger Sonnen insists the pride of Lafayette, Louisiana is capable of springing an upset.

He said: "Of course, he [Poirier] could get it done. If you go back and look at that first fight and add trajectory to this fight, it is interesting because it was an all stand up fight. For however long it lasted.

"If you go back and look at it the pure boxing of that night vs today, Dustin today would get rid of that Dustin faster than Conor did. So I think it is a very different match.”

Sonnen reckons Poirier's best route to victory lies in pressuring and crowding McGregor from the outset.

He added: “Conor does have a speed advantage on opponents, so it might behoove Dustin to mix it up a little bit, particularly early, and get his hands on him and push him, pull him.

"Not just trade with him but even if we are left with the trade-in, I will at least maintain for you that Dustin is much better today than he was then.”

UFC president Dana White agrees with Sonnen's assessment that Poirier isn't a lay-up for 'Mystic Mac', telling BT Sport: "It’s a completely different fight.

“Obviously Conor is a much better fighter than he was when he first faced him, and Poirier is a much better fighter too.

"I don’t know how that plays out now in the fight, but it’s definitely interesting.

“You can’t look at the first fight and go, ‘Oh, this is exactly the way that’s gonna go again.’ Because it won’t.”

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McGregor, 32, has been preparing for what he hopes will be the first of several outings next year in Portugal.

The Dubliner, however, recently returned the Emerald Isle ahead of the Christmas holidays.

McGregor – the UFC's first simultaneous two-weight world champion – hasn't fought since his January demolition of Donald Cerrone at UFC 246.

Poirier, meanwhile, last fought in June – winning a five-round war with Dan Hooker via unanimous decision.

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