Just nine days out from their UFC 264 headliner on July 10. — former interim lightweight champion, Dustin Poirier looks to pull clear from former two-weight gold holder, Conor McGregor and grab the bragging rights in their trilogy of bouts. And off the back of his January knockout win over the Dubliner, Poirier has sights set on submitting McGregor this time around, or stopping him with a high-kick finish. 

Taking main event status in July in the promotion’s return to the T-Mobile Arena for the first time since March of last year, Poirier will make the final walk of the night to a sold-out capacity crowd — with the victor expected to challenge newly-minted undisputed lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira for spoils before the culmination of this year.

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Making their second Octagon appearance of the year, McGregor snapped an almost year hiatus with his January rematch against Poirier, following a UFC 249 knockout stoppage over former lightweight title challenger and future Hall of Fame inductee, Donald Cerrone the year prior.

For Poirier, he also entered the January ‘Fight Island’ showcase off the back of a victory; an eye-catching Fight of the Year contender against event co-headliner, Dan Hooker at UFC Vegas 4 in June. The victory came as Poirier’s first since a title unification loss to the now-retired Khabib Nurmagomedov, and successful hip surgery earlier that year.

Closing the night’s proceedings, Poirier drew the score between himself and McGregor at one win apiece, following a brutal barrage at the fence midway through the second round — earning his second consecutive victory and handing the Straight Blast Gym mainstay his first knockout loss in professional mixed martial arts.

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Appearing during a sit-down interview with ESPN MMA reporter, Brett Okamoto in Fort Lauderdale, Florida ahead of the rubber match next weekend, Poirier expressed his interest in possibly submitting McGregor on July 10. — or grabbing his own high-kick knockout. 

Kick him (Conor McGregor) in the head instead of the calf,” Poirier replied when asked by Okamoto how he could lodge an even more impressive finish over McGregor. “Submit him, I mean, there’s lot of ways to get him out of there — drag him into deep waters and show him that I’m willing to bleed more than he is. That hurts.

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Anybody can get caught,” Poirier explained. “We both have been on the wrong side of that — me and him, against each other. That’s what makes this third fight everything it is. We both knocked each other out. Mine (knockout loss) was a long time ago, his was — the karate stance or whatever he says, or he was boxing more or his calf was kicked. Who gives a sh*t? We have a great story. And somebody’s most likely getting finished again, lets see who it’s gonna be.

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Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.