He's strong and has great initiation but there are simple ways to counter him.
Most people fall into the trap of just trying to trade with him early, since he's super strong in the first few levels. He'll shield your damage and chunk you for half your hp with only his w and an auto.
Main points to note are:
-His flame breath doesn't do much if you sidestep it and he isn't allowed to land the last bit. He doesn't get the knockback/stun or extra % damage. You can just walk perpendicular to him and avoid it.
-He has no way to knock you up unless you are near a wall or his pillar. His pillar takes time to come up, so you can just walk away from it.
-He can't use the 2nd part of his ult if you cc him. If you just hold your cc and then use it when he's meant to knock his ultimate at you, it will pass straight through him and he won't get the knockup.
-He has no escape and is slow. His flame breath basically cc's him so he cannot move or turn, and his spells are aoe. Use this to your advantage since he will usually end up pushing the lane and is then a free kill for your jungler.