- Brett Okamoto, ESPN Staff Writer
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UFC featherweight Conor McGregor tends to target opponents with his words before targeting them with punches -- and with Dustin Poirier, he's aiming for the chin.
During a UFC Q&A in Los Angeles on Tuesday, McGregor (15-2) repeatedly spoke of Poirier's inability to take a punch, although Poirier, 25, has never been knocked out.
The two will meet in a high-profile 145-pound contest at UFC 178 on Sept. 27 in Las Vegas. McGregor has predicted a first-round knockout.
"All you've got to do is look at Dustin's last couple fights," McGregor said. "In his last contest [against Akira Corassani] he fought a [UFC reality show] reject. Nobody gave a s--- and he got wobbled 40 times. His chin is deteriorating.
"Every single contest he [gets knocked down]. A gust of wind and he does the chicken dance. Coming up against me, that's not going to be good. I'm going to crack him with a jab and he's going to wobble. It's going to be a first-round knockout, mark my words."
As fight fans have witnessed early in McGregor's UFC career, he can be persuasive. At one point during Tuesday's session, which both fighters were present for, he even had Poirier admitting he was right in some respects.
Poirier (16-3) was briefly dropped in each of his previous two fights -- against Corassani and Diego Brandao. He was never in danger of being finished, however, and eventually won both fights via knockout.
"Diego got me off-balance," Poirier admitted to McGregor. "Akira got me with a good shot, I'll be honest. But this fight, I'm going to be cool, calm and calculated, and I'm going to take you out."
McGregor is on an 11-fight win streak. He is 3-0 in the Octagon, with two knockouts. In his only fight to go the distance, against Max Holloway last August, he tore his ACL and was forced to sit out for nearly a year.
He returned to the cage last month to headline a UFC Fight Night event in his native Dublin, Ireland. The event sold out within hours. McGregor, after predicting a first-round finish, took out Brandao via TKO in a little more than four minutes.
"[Poirier's] weakness is obviously his chin," McGregor said. "Don't get me wrong. I like the kid. He's a quiet, little hillbilly from the back of nowhere. I'm sure he grew up in the circus or the fair. His cousin is probably named 'Cletus' or something.
"He's a nice kid, but his chin is going to be cracked and it's going to be cracked early. I don't hit like these [other] people. He says I don't have experience at this level. He's main-evented one UFC event and lost. I main-evented my hometown and it was one of the best UFC events in history and I stopped the guy in one round."
Poirier, who fights out of Lafayette, Louisiana, told ESPN.com he's not getting too caught up in McGregor's pre-fight criticisms.
"Whatever he says or does or thinks doesn't affect me," Poirier said. "This talk has nothing to do with what's going to happen in the fight, and I believe that. There's nothing to be won over here, this is just press."
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