- Dustin Poirier knocked out Conor McGregor at the main event of UFC 257.
- The Irishman was a bigger betting favorite on Saturday than he was during their first bout at UFC 178 in 2014.
- Poirier says he will not fight Michael Chandler if the UFC books him to a lightweight title fight against the former Bellator lightweight king.
UFC superstar Conor McGregor suffered the first knockout loss of his career on Saturday night after he was stopped cold by Dustin Poirier in the second round of their main event showdown at UFC 257 at Fight Island.
After the defeat, McGregor was gracious enough to speak about his defeat. However, he was quick to point to his inactivity in the previous year as the reason for his downfall.
Prior to Saturday night, McGregor’s last fight was a 40-second knockout of Donald Cerrone in January 2020. That fight was his first at lightweight since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018. Overall, McGregor has fought only three times inside the Octagon since 2018. He vowed to stay busy after beating Cerrone but COVID-19 derailed those plans. Now Poirier hasn’t only stopped the UFC’s script, the Diamond has killed a potential Manny Pacquiao fight for McGregor.
Dustin’s Low Calf Kicks
“That low calf kick was good. The leg was dead and then I just wasn’t as comfortable as I needed to be.” -Conor McGregor #UFC257pic.twitter.com/9tKXQhh5a6
— MMA mania (@mmamania) January 24, 2021
But McGregor didn’t put all the blame on his inactivity in the UFC. He credited Dustin’s low calf kicks for slowing him down. And once the Notorious lost his mobility, he was no longer as comfortable in the second round as he was in the opening frame.
McGregor looked strong in the opening round. He landed several hard straight left hands that caught Poirier’s attention and a shovel right hand that shook the Diamond’s head back. Poirier took McGregor to the ground, but the Irishman got back on his feet quickly. The two fought in the clinch with McGregor landing some of the shoulder strikes that knocked out Donald Cerrone last year. The Notorious won the round but Poirier’s investment in low calf kicks paid dividends in round 2.
The Irishman continued to land heavy shots in the second round but Poirier simply ate them. On the other hand, McGregor started showing trouble dealing with Poirier’s calf kicks. With McGregor no longer landing with ease, Poirier started going upstairs and kept coming at the Irishman. The Diamond then got McGregor pinned against the fence and let loose a vicious combination that rocked McGregor, ending it with a big right hand that put the Irishman away.
Beating the Odds
Conor McGregor is a bigger favorite and Dustin Poirier is a bigger underdog in their #UFC257 rematch than they were at the time of their first fight. pic.twitter.com/6T8AnC8hM3
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) January 23, 2021
With the win, Poirier avenged his 2014 defeat to McGregor. It can be recalled that the Irishman knocked out Poirier at UFC 178 after the Notorious landed a borderline illegal punch to the back of the Diamond’s head. The referees gave the bigger star McGregor the benefit of the doubt with that punch. On Saturday, Poirier left nothing to chance and beat the odds.
McGregor entered Saturday’s rematch a bigger betting favorite than he was when they first fought in 2014. But despite being the +275 betting underdog at UFC 257, Poirier showed no fear and beat the odds. Those who took the gamble on the Diamond took home $275 for every $100 bet.
Poirier was coming off a win in a back and forth war against Dan Hooker last year. Prior to that, the Diamond lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed UFC lightweight title. Poirier had earned the title of interim champion after beating Max Holloway at UFC 236 but Khabib showed him who’s boss at UFC 242. With Nurmagomedov retiring last year and with no plans of coming back, the UFC lightweight division needs a new champion.
Poirier vs Chandler Next?
“He should fight Charles Oliveira… I’m the champ.”
Watch full video: https://t.co/DMjNkIPpCz pic.twitter.com/jjTxF41E59
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) January 24, 2021
During the post-event press conference, UFC President Dana White said that he “thinks” that Poirier should fight Michael Chandler next for the UFC lightweight title. Chandler knocked out Top 6 lightweight Dan Hooker in the co-main event of UFC 257 to announce his arrival in the UFC. With Khabib Nurmagomedov reportedly telling White that he has no interest in making a comeback, a lightweight title fight is due soon.
However, Poirier doesn’t think that Chandler deserves to fight him for the title. According to the Diamond, he should already be champion after beating McGregor and with Nurmagomedov not having any interest in returning to the UFC. As for Chandler, Poirier said that the former Bellator lightweight king should fight no. 3 lightweight Charles Oliveira who decimated Tony Ferguson at UFC 256 and who has won eight consecutive bouts, seven via stoppage.
And so now the plot thickens. White wants Poirier vs Chandler. Poirier wants the belt outright and calls for Chandler vs Oliveira. McGregor may want a trilogy bout and given that White gave Conor an immediate rematch after McGregor lost to Nate Diaz at UFC 196, there’s a good possibility that could happen next, especially with McGregor saying he wants a quick turnaround fight. Only time will tell what happens next. One thing is sure though. Dustin Poirier crashed the party and spoiled the UFC’s plans.