Conor McGregor makes bold Islam Makhachev vs Dustin Poirier prediction for UFC 302

Makhachev will defend the lightweight belt against McGregor’s old rival on 1 June

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Tuesday 21 May 2024 16:04 BST
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Conor McGregor has hinted at how Islam Makhachev could drop his lightweight title to Dustin Poirier at UFC 302.

Makhachev will defend the belt against Poirier in a main-event bout on 1 June, as the latter challenges for the title for the third – and likely final – time.

Makhachev, protege of lightweight icon Khabib Nurmagomedov, is making his third defence of the title, which McGregor previously held and failed to regain from Khabib in 2018.

McGregor also has history with Poirier, having knocked out the American at featherweight in 2014 before losing back-to-back fights against Poirier in 2021. The “Diamond” knocked out McGregor in the first of those rematches, before the Irishman suffered a broken leg in their trilogy bout.

Makhachev is the favourite against Poirier, but McGregor believes that the Russian is susceptible to a specific shot.

“I think Dustin can do him,” McGregor told Duelbits on Monday (20 May). “I think Dustin does him. Knocks him out. I think the things that Makhachev does wrong, the things he’s not good at, he fumbles over his feet – usually early on – and falls into shots.

“He’s been knocked out by a back check hook by a southpaw before inside the UFC. That’s one of Dustin’s best shots. If Dustin’s ever going to do it, it’s going to be this time.”

McGregor was referring to Makhachev’s sole loss as a professional, when he was knocked out by Adriano Martins in round one, nine years ago.

Makhachev has since won 13 straight fights, claiming the vacant lightweight title in 2022 by submitting ex-champion Charles Oliveira. Makhachev next beat Alexander Volkanovski twice in 2023, winning on points then by knockout. Volkanovski held the featherweight title at the time.

Poirier last fought in March, knocking out Benoit Saint-Denis to bounce back from a stoppage loss to Justin Gaethje last July.

McGregor is due to return to the Octagon on 29 June, facing Michael Chandler at welterweight. The bout, headlining UFC 303, will be McGregor’s first since his trilogy fight with Poirier in July 2021.

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