Poirier explains why Conor McGregor rematch will be different to first fight

Dustin Poirier says his UFC rematch with Conor McGregor will be a completely different fight from their famous first encounter.

The lightweight rivals will clash on Fight Island on January 23 in a reprise of the Las Vegas bout that set McGregor on the road to stardom six years ago.

After stopping his American opponent in the opening round, McGregor went on to win featherweight and lightweight titles and became the face of the sport.

Poirier has admitted he was "emotional" and "wanted to hurt" McGregor going into that showdown, after letting the Irishman's pre-fight taunts get to him.

But he now faces 'The Notorious' as a 31-year-old husband and father, and has established himself as one of the UFC's top lightweights, having won an interim title and posted some impressive wins in the octagon.

And he says this time around he plans to "outsmart" McGregor, 32.

“He was obviously a great fighter in finishing a bunch of guys before me in his UFC career," Poirier said of his rival an interview with MMA Junkie.

"But at this point we’re both so much more established and have so much more experience, just more mature fighters, and I think you get a completely different fight here.

“I was emotional in the first one. I wanted to hurt the guy. This time I just want to outsmart him, just want to beat him. This is business. This isn’t any ill will towards the guy.

Poirier added: “When I was younger, I used to fight with a lot of emotion.

"This isn’t the same thing for me. This isn’t about getting even for me. This isn’t like a revenge type of thing for me.

"This is about moving my career forward, about putting my family in a better spot. It’s not trying to get back a guy who got me. This is just business.”

Poirier beat Dan Hooker in his last fight in June, while McGregor stopped Donald Cerrone inside 40 seconds back in January.

Poirier described McGregor as having "one of the best counter-twos in the game" – but said the Dubliner's ground game is underestimated.

“Watching footage and stuff like that, I can tell you the guy has one of the best counter-twos in the game," he said.

"No doubt about it. His timing, his balance, his understanding of distance when guys are being too heavy on their front foot and throwing power shots.

"He’s a great counter puncher. He really is. I give him credit for that.

"I think people, because he’s been submitted, he’s such a big puncher, people underestimate his ground game.

"I think his jiu-jitsu and his grappling is better than people give him credit for. I really do. I’m not underestimating this guy in any aspect of mixed martial arts."

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