Dustin Poirier may have stolen the limelight at UFC 257 but the Diamond is still very much preparing in the shadows ahead of his monumental trilogy bout against Conor McGregor.
The American, 32, avenged his 2014 defeat to his Irish rival in a career-defining performance on Fight Island, putting on a masterclass in kickboxing to serve McGregor his first defeat by knockout.
McGregor, also 32, had been looking to book a mega-fight with arch rival Khabib Nurmagomedov or a boxing bout with Manny Pacquaio but his big plans fell by the wayside after that defeat, and he is now in last chance saloon to get his title ambitions back on track.
Dustin Poirier has locked himself away as he prepares to replicate his UFC 257 victory
The Louisianan, 32, inflicted a surprise defeat on Conor McGregor on Fight Island in January
The Notorious has fervently claimed he will right the wrongs of his Fight Island defeat, regularly posting training footage to his millions of followers on social media.
McGregor was spotted in California this week as he steps up preparations for UFC 264 bout, with the July 10 contest just three weeks away.
Yet Poirier continues to quietly fine tune his skills as he attempts to spring another defeat upon the former two-weight world champion and prove to the world that his Fight Island victory was no fluke.
When not travelling for fights, Poirier spends his time between two locations – Lafayette, Louisiana with his wife Jolie and young daughter Parker, and Coconut Creek, Florida, with American Top Team.
It is a lifestyle that can leave him torn, and he explained to Joe Rogan that he seeks to balance his training camps with time with his family.
The lightweight rivals are set to do battle for a third time in Las Vegas at UFC 264 on July 10
‘If I get the call and it is time to go to work, I will lock myself in training camp,’ Poirier explained when asked about a trilogy fight, a matter of weeks after his win in January.
‘But right now I’m still not ready, a month removed, to go back to Florida and lock down for another ten weeks or whatever it is.
‘I’d rather them [the UFC] let me enjoy my life in Louisiana before I go right back out to Florida.’
Having spent time with his family back home, Poirier is back to work in Coconut Creek with American Top Team – widely regarded as one of the best teams in the business.
Poirier moved to The Sunshine State in 2012 after his defeat to the Korean Zombie, having realised that he needs the best quality training in order to ascend the UFC mountain.
ATT is home to superstar names such as Jorge Masvidal, Amanda Nunes and Joanna Jędrzejczyk, and led by coach Mike Brown, the team devised the masterplan that derailed McGregor in emphatic fashion on Fight Island.
The 32-year-old spends his time between his family in Louisiana and his gym in Florida
Poirier admitted last month that he goes ‘crazy’ being away from his young family during camp
The Diamond will undergo a full ten-week camp in Florida ahead of his McGregor trilogy fight
‘Fair play to Dustin and Mike [Brown] and the guys,’ John Kavanagh, McGregor’s coach, told BT Sport. ‘He had this plan, that he had the check hook and he had the calf kick and they were just going to keep doing it and hope it would work, and it did.’
The calf kicks, in particular, were devastating. McGregor reflected that his leg was the size of an ‘American football’ due to the punishment inflicted by Poirier, and has vowed to devise a formula to prevent the Diamond from using the same weapon next month.
Poirier says that while he still intends to cause damage with the same calf kicks, he is keen to show he has a ‘tool bag full of tricks’ he wants to use to keep McGregor guessing.
‘I’m working on still landing my offence with my low kicks, but now I’m working on defending a lot more than I used to,’ Poirier told The Fight With Teddy Atlas podcast.
‘Just like in that fight, if he would have started checking those kicks, or if I would have been getting taken down because I was chasing that leg kick, then I would have gone with something else.
‘I just used them because they were there, it was damaging him, he wasn’t making the right decisions to start defending them, and I knew how much they hurt, and I knew it was going to change the fight.
But Poirier is in The Sunshine State devising a plan to defeat McGregor for a second time
The Diamond says he will be prepared for McGregor’s adjustments to his brutal calf kicks
Poirier also has top quality team-mates at American Top Team, including Amanda Nunes (L)
‘He wouldn’t be able to plant and throw. That power, his mobility would be taken away. The same thing in this one. If the kicks are there, I’m going to use them. If not, I’ve got a tool bag full of tricks that I can’t wait to show you guys.’
And Poirier is not short of top quality training partners to help sharpen his blades. The Diamond was pictured with double champion Nunes earlier this month in Florida after a tough training session.
Unlike McGregor, Poirier has opted to keep his cards close to his chest in the build up to UFC 264, releasing very little training footage as he gets ready for the Las Vegas headline act.
One video shows Poirier being put through his paces in drills designed to improve explosiveness and power, with the Diamond looking in tremendous shape as the lightweight clash fast approaches.
McGregor has been keen to show off his training regime while Poirier has remained quiet
In typical Poirier fashion, he is training in the shadows as he prepares to spring another big win
The 32-year-old earned praise from UFC chief Dana White for snubbing a shot at the 155-pound title for a lucrative third fight with McGregor, which will surely set his family up for life.
But Poirier has opened up on the challenges posed by being away from his young family while in Florida.
‘I just started training camp. So, I am here couple of weeks by myself,’ he told Teddy Atlas’ podcast, recorded in May. ‘But next week they [his family] are going to be here with me.
‘You know my mind is going crazy being away from them this long. It makes me think what the hell I was doing before I had a daughter and this kind of lifestyle.’
In just three weeks, Poirier will look to ensure that the sacrifice has been worth it, with a second victory over McGregor set to launch the Louisianan family man into superstardom.
This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk