UFC champion Dustin Poirier is gearing up for his third match against rival Conor McGregor on Saturday, July 10, in Las Vegas for UFC 264. Previously, McGregor lost his rematch to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 back in January 2021. (The fight ended with Poirier beating McGregor via a knockout.) Before that, Poirier and McGregor fought their first match back in September 2014 (at featherweight) at UFC 178, with McGregor coming out on top.
To prepare for this weekend’s fight, Poirier’s trainer, Phil Daru, shared on his YouTube channel the 8-week training camp program that Poirier has been doing to prepare for the fight.
“He has a great gas tank year-round…he can go from being home in Louisiana training at his home gym, and then coming to the main gym here in Florida and basically going right into it,” says Daru. According to Daru, the training program focuses on 3 main focus points:
Focus Point #1: Establish Movement Efficiency
Daru notes that because of Poirier’s past hip issues, he wasn’t able to get into as many positions to create force. But now that he has full-functioning hips, they can work on these exercises. “Now we can get him stronger in all different ranges,” says Daru. These include working on: mobility, stability, and speed strength (to produce more force with higher velocity).
In the video montage, you can see Poirier doing lots of movement work, including ladder drills, resistance band work, exercises using closed resistance bands, box and hurdle jumps, medicine ball wall and core work, sled pushes, and plyometrics.
Focus Point #2: Speed/Agility/Quickness/Power
“I wanted to make sure he was able to get in and out of the pocket and move more efficiently to avoid any type of damage that may occur or anything that may arise from the offensive side of his opponent,” says Daru. “We’ve been working to enhance his change in direction and his movement throughout all different ranges so he can keep his eyes on the target by still moving his feet in all those different directions, increasing all those movements so he can be in control of the fight wherever it goes.”
To improve on this, the video shows Poirier working on cone drills, ladder techniques, bag work drills, medicine ball throws, ballistics, hurdle hops, and box jumps, which are important for increasing explosive power and rotational strength and power, which helps create force through his rotational plane.
Focus Point #3: Cognitive Conditioning
This is all about enhancing mental muscle, hand-eye coordination, reaction timing, as well as depth perception, memory, and pattern recognition. Daru and Poirier enlists the help of Nicholas A. Davenport, M.S., aka Mr. Mental Muscle, who implements technology into his cognitive training. (Check out the video below of Poirier working on cognitive exercises.)
A post shared by Nicholas A. Davenport M.S. (@mrmentalmuscle)
“When he’s in the fight, he’s able to react a lot faster and be able to create that offense off of the defense. And that’s what Dustin really wants to do,” says Daru.
The Final Breakdown
Daru ends the video by breaking down exactly how Poirier timed out his training.
8-4 weeks out: “We did speed, strength, mobility, stability and explosive repeats,” says Daru. “This included accommodated resistance, FRC, stability in the trunk and core to increase power production with punches and strikes, explosive repeats like a prowler push, followed by a short rest. Taking something that is very explosive, recovering fast and going again.” Daru notes that he does a 3 week up, 1 week de-load where he brought down the volume to recover.
3-1 week out: “This is pure power. We’re working on being as explosive as possible, and we’re doing that in explosive power, speed, agility, quickness footwork drills, hand-eye coordination drills, agility drills with Mr. Mental Muscle, and the cone and bag drills, as well as muscle endurance like circuit style work,” says Daru.
He also notes the final week is a de-load, which involves doing 25 minutes of work that is specific and simulated in the fight, while still doing drills from the previous 8 weeks.
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