Conor McGregor on borrowed time as he bids to recreate his glory days

Las Vegas has long been a retirement home for washed-up entertainers.

The Strip is littered with singers lip-syncing their greatest hits and comedians faltering over outdated one-liners.

It has been five years, five fights and almost as many court cases since Conor McGregor was the summer attraction in Sin City.

And his patter this week has had the desperate whiff of a faded force struggling to recapture his glory years.

He has been brash and he has been vulgar but mainly he has fallen flat, and Dustin Poirier summed it up best when he quipped, "You used to be better."

McGregor used to be better inside the cage, too.

His stock was never higher than when he outclassed Eddie Alvarez to become the UFC's first simultaneous world champion in 2016.

But a cash grab against Floyd Mayweather and a humbling, choking defeat by Khabib Nurmagomedov sent his career into reverse.

He has won just one of his last three fights – against serial loser Donald Cerrone – and a second defeat in six months in his rubber match with Poirier tonight could hasten the final curtain.

"For me the aura is not there anymore," added his rival. "I see a man I've defeated and one I'll defeat again."

McGregor's list of excuses for his stoppage defeat in January is long and varied.

He pitied Poirier and only fought him because he felt sorry for him.

Or he was too comfortable with his fiancee and young children in tow in Abu Dhabi.

Or he was too focused on a money-spinning boxing bout with Manny Pacquiao which evaporated the second McGregor's head hit the canvas.

But a solo stint in Dubai followed by a month in California without either his family or his boxing coach has convinced him he is not a spent force.

"This is my bread and butter, this is what wakes me up in the morning with fire in my belly," he said. "Errors to correct, tactics to prepare for, I've had a great camp and a great focus on the opponent.

"I'm back on the building site, I've a hard hat, a hi-vis and I've two hammers in my hands.

"That's my mindset; I'm not relishing my past accomplishments; all the money in my bank, all the Forbes accomplishments, I don't care about that."

But unless he can turn back time, that may be all McGregor is left with in the city of broken dreams.

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