Former UFC fighter and current MMA coach Mark Weir has a feeling a fired-up Conor McGregor could win his trilogy match-up with Dustin Poirier.
However, Weir does not see either McGregor or Poirier toppling new Lightweight Champion, Charles Oliveira.
Weir says the 31-year-old Brazilian, who won the title with a clinical stoppage of Michael Chandler at the weekend, will still be champion beyond a potential showdown with the winner of McGregor vs Poirier 3.
“Definitely Charles Oliveira. Just the performance against Michael Chandler. I didn’t expect him to win like that. He showed a fighter’s heart. But the main thing is he’s so intelligent. I can’t see Charles losing for a while, if he keeps that mindset,” Weir told Sky Sports.
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Oliveira has been fighting in the UFC since 2010 and has eight losses on his career record in MMA. But the win over Chandler was his ninth straight victory. And for a man famed for his formidable jiu jitsu skills, the stoppage win over Chandler emphasised the impressive development of Oliveira’s striking.
“I thought he’d win, but on the submission side. But when he came out round two…wow, the power was there and he has to be one of the most complete fighters on the UFC roster,” Weir reflected.
It is the variety of Oliveira’s arsenal that Weir believes makes ‘Do Bronx’ too much for any of the other contenders in the lightweight division to handle.
“When you look at his stats, he’s had 19 submissions, nine knockouts and three decision wins. The way he composes himself. He comes out, he’s very methodical. He’s very precise, his hands are up even when he’s throwing those hooks,” said Weir.
“If you watch his right hand when he throws that left hook, it’s still up. He’s so precise and a role model for everyone on how to be a perfectionist.”
With Khabib Nurmagomedov, the former undefeated king of the lightweight division seemingly committed to retirement, Weir’s backing Oliveira to rule the division indefinitely. But he does like the most high-profile MMA fighter on the planet, Conor McGregor’s chances of avenging his January loss to Dustin Poirier when the pair meet for the third time this summer.
It’s not technical adjustments that Weir feels will be key to McGregor’s success, but rather his announcement that this time he won’t be bringing his family with him to the fight that will provide an overall winner to the series, which is currently tied at one apiece.
In a tweet, McGregor suggested the presence of his children had a deleterious effect on his aggression and contributed to the loss to Poirier. And Weir says he has long preached the importance of hardening the mind in the build-up to battle.
“McGregor had family around him [for the loss to Poirier]. I’ve heard that he’s locked himself up for this one. He’s put himself in the old cave scenario. He’s being punished and he’s there for a reason.
“McGregor is dangerous. He’s doing the right thing. Look at Rocky IV. Sometimes you have to take yourself away and go back to where you came from. Go back to where the hunger is.”
Weir is nurturing the budding career of middleweight prospect Christian Duncan (3-0). Duncan has won all three of his contests in Cage Warriors by knockout and Weir says part of an MMA coach’s role is provoking the primal side from the fighter.
“I never let any of my fighters go near loved ones and stuff. Your determination has to be at the forefront,” he said.
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