McGregor v Poirier 2: Irishman shocked in UFC rematch at Struggle Island
Dustin Poirier (left) has had nine mixed martial arts fights since November 2016, while Conor McGregor only had three
Former two-weight world champion Conor McGregor was stunned on his return to the UFC when Dustin Poirier took victory in his rematch at UFC 257.
And although the Irishman left the first lap behind, Poirier released a series of punches to seal a technical knockout two minutes 32 seconds into the second lap.
“I’m disappointed it’s hard to swallow,” said McGregor.
“I felt stronger than him, but his kicks were good. I didn’t adjust. My leg was severely affected, I’ve never experienced those low calf kicks and I didn’t feel as comfortable as I needed to be.
“I have no excuses. It was a phenomenal performance by Dustin. I have to dust her off and come back. I need activity, you can’t get away from being inactive in this business.”
McGregor feels the heat as Poirier takes revenge
When the couple first met at featherweight in September 2014, McGregor stopped the American in 106 seconds and put “The Notorious” on course for global fame. He became the UFC’s first simultaneous two-weight champion before Floyd Mayweather in one of the richest fights in boxing history in 2017.
Poirier, meanwhile, had to gradually work his way back into the fight for the title and is now the second-placed lightweight who has only lost two of his 13 fights since 2014.
McGregor now has a 22-5 mixed martial arts record after losing three of his last six UFC bouts
McGregor was relatively inactive, however. Since Loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov In 2018 he only had 40 seconds in the octagon – Donald ‘Cowboy’ beat Cerrone last January in style.
But McGregor seemed to start well in the new Etihad Arena with 18,000 seats in front of about 2,000 fans. He survived an early breakdown and pounded Poirier against the fence for most of the first round, landing a couple of shoulder blows as they had done so much damage to Cerrone.
McGregor said before the fight that what motivates him now is to build a “highlights role like a movie” and he tagged Poirier with a couple of right-shots. But unlike their first fight, Poirier was unmoved.
Poirier admitted that McGregor won the mind games before they met in 2014. This time, instead of exchanging verbal barbs before the fight, McGregor promised to donate $ 500,000 (£ 367,000) to Poiriers Charity and when weighing Poirier handed McGregor a bottle of his own hot Louisiana sauce.
And it was the American south paw that brought the heat in the middle of the second round. After responding to that early pressure with a series of kicks, he rushed to cause the first TKO / KO defeat of McGregor’s MMA career, bringing his own record to 27-6.
“It was a lot of things but it didn’t pay off. That wasn’t the driving force,” said Poirier.
“The first time I was a deer in the headlights. This time I only fought another man who was bleeding like me.
“The goal was to be technical, to take my shots and not to flog at all. Then I hurt him so I went a little crazy.”
What now for Poirier?
Poirier’s first world title shot – against Nurmagomedov – brought 31 fights into his MMA career
Since beating McGregor in 2018, lightweight champion Nurmagomedov has won Unification struggles against Poirier and Justin Gaethje to stay undefeated Announcement of his retirement immediately after the win against Gaethje in October.
Nurmagomedov’s title has yet to be vacated, and UFC President Dana White said this week that the Russian might consider returning to a rematch with McGregor or Poirier after “seeing something spectacular”.
But when he spoke to UFC 257, White said, “He said to me, ‘Be honest with yourself, I’m so many levels above these guys. I beat these guys.’
“I don’t know, it doesn’t sound very positive, but it won’t stop the division.”
In the co-main event, former Bellator world champion Michael Chandler celebrated his UFC debut with an impressive round of 16 against sixth-placed lightweight Dan Hooker Poirier refused the last time.
Poirier said, “It was a great win, but to beat a man I just beat and got a title shot? I’ve had 20+ UFC fights and fought the toughest of the toughest men for gold to get.” [a belt].
“Let go of Chandler and Charles Oliveira. That [Chandler] I’m not interested at this point – or I’ll sell hot sauce. I’m interested in a rematch with Conor and I’ve always wanted to beat Nate Diaz. “
Danny Roberts, British UFC welterweight fighter, on BBC Radio 5 Live
“Conor McGregor is not an old dog, he is definitely ready to move on.
“Doing other things isn’t what Conor needs. He’s young, fit, and still ready to go. He’ll be 100% back.”