American UFC fighter Dustin Poirier on Thursday told CNN that he is much more prepared and experienced since his two-minute knock out to McGregor in 2014, as the duo head to UFC 257 on Saturday. Poirier also added that he finds calm with no crowd and hence fancies his chances surrounded by 2000-odd fans in Abu Dhabi.

“I’m more prepared now on the mental side. Before, when I was younger, I didn’t put a whole lot into the mental side of fighting. I listened to critics. I listened to opinions of people. I listened to Conor,” Poirier told CNN.

“I got frustrated and caught up in all the war of words leading up to the fight. And he’s one of the best at that, getting under your skin, making you upset. Now, that’s just noise to me,” he added.

Dustin Poirier has experienced success with no fans surrounding the ring. Having beaten Dan Hooker in front of no fans in Las Vegas last June, Poirier says he prefers the sound of silence.

“I liked fighting without a crowd. Yeah, like I know some fighters feed off the energy of the crowd and want to get pumped up and stuff like that. For the first time in my career, I fought with nobody in attendance in 2020, last year. And I thought it was calm. It was more peaceful.”

“Fighting is chaotic. Your brain is moving a million miles an hour and on a regular fight night you have people hanging over the things trying to grab you when you walk into the octagon and people yelling and stuff like that. It just makes it more chaotic. And it was peaceful,” Poirier said.

“It also makes the fight more intimate. When you’re standing across from that guy, you’re not hearing thousands of screams, you’re hearing your own thoughts, you’re hearing the announcers talking. It’s really weird, man. It was a great experience to go to that.”

Poirier has won 26 out of 33 Mixed Martial Arts bouts. He’s the only man to have faced both McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, losing to both. McGregor also lost to the undefeated Russian in 2018. The former two-division champion returned to the cage a year ago to beat Donald Cerrone before announcing a third retirement in June.

McGregor- The ‘Notorious’ returns to the Octagon post a third retirement to face Poirier in a rematch from 2014.