By Danny Armstrong
Danny Armstrong is a Moscow-based British journalist, reporter and presenter for RT Sport. Follow him on Twitter @DannyWArmstrong
Conor McGregor sparring partner Dylan Moran insists his fellow Irishman is “firing on all cylinders” ahead of ‘The Notorious’ UFC 257 rematch with Dustin Poirier, and believes he will “take apart” the American inside a round.
Moran, 15-1 as a pro boxer and considered one of Ireland’s top prospects, has been in Dubai helping the former Champ Champ sharpen his tools for a rematch with Poirier on January 23 on Fight Island.
The Dungarvan man has been so impressed with McGregor’s skills in sparring, that he told RT Sport he backs his Dublin countryman to dispose of Poirier in the very first round.
“I’m delighted to be over here with Conor. What an experience it’s been. Being around Conor is just amazing. The sparring is the best sparring I’ve ever had,” Moran said over Zoom call.
“I was just really enjoying it, when two fighters just gel. It was a good pace. The shots were good, the flow was good. The energy around the whole sparring was amazing. And like I said I was really enjoying it.
“Conor is firing on all cylinders. The guy is special. I think like he said himself he is creating a masterpiece and I think he is just going to take Dustin Poirier apart.”
In typically brash fashion, McGregor has made his Mystic Mac prediction of knocking out Poirier in 60 seconds, and Moran has backed him to make good on his word to repeat his first round victory in their first fight in 2014.
“I’d be putting my money on the first round,” Moran said. “You know having sparred Conor and me being a boxer – and I’m that type of guy when I finish sparring Conor, I’ve been studying Dustin myself and I really read into things – I just think Dustin is handmade for Conor’s best shots.
“He’s just gonna walk onto them and there’s no better man to land them than Conor McGregor. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it’s over in the first round.”
It will McGregor’s returns to the octagon after a one-year layoff since his original UFC comeback fight against veteran Donald Cerrone in January last year – a fight which he also ended in the first round – and Moran believes that the rest has “rejuvenated” the former feather and lightweight champ, who he insists remains at world-level sharpness.
“Yeah I can testify to that!” Moran laughed. “Listen, the guy is special. I don’t do the jiu jitsu or the MMA with him so I can’t speak on that but for his hands, like I said, firing on all cylinders. The guy is in pristine condition. That year off has probably done Conor the world of good. I can’t get over how good his hands are to be honest with you and I’m very excited to see him let them go on January 23rd.”
“Conor just look rejuvenated, he’s like a new man. His look, his energy. Everything about him and I think Dustin Poirier is just the starting point here and then it’s going to be a massive year for him. He’s just gonna take over as he did before.”
While in Dubai, Moran has found himself caught in the crossfire in a war of words between McGregor and YouTuber and part-time boxer Jake Paul, who released a close-to-the-knuckle, expletive-laden video mocking McGregor before turning on Moran and posting a video of the latter in his only loss as a pro fighter that went viral.
In response, Moran implored ‘Problem Child’ to meet him at Floyd Mayweather’s gym to settle their differences, and told RT Sport he would “rip Jake Paul’s head off” should the two ever meet in the ring.