Conor McGregor suffered a first-ever TKO defeat after two minutes and 32 seconds in the second round against Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi where 2,000 socially-distanced fans were in attendance.
With this result, Poirier avenges his knockout loss to McGregor in September 2014 and potentially sets up a lightweight championship bout against Michael Chandler, who beat Dan Hooker on Saturday in the United Arab Emirates.
This was McGregor's first time in a UFC cage in just over a year when he beat Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone in 40 seconds at UFC 246. After Saturday night's knockout, the 32-year-old referenced this ring rustiness in his post-fight interview, saying: "If you put in the time in here, you're going to get cosy in here and I just have to dust it off and come back and that's what I will do. I need activity, you don't get away with being inactive in this business."
He continued: "I'll take my licks. I'm gutted and I put so much work in. Well done Dustin: 1-1, good man. It's a tough one to swallow, I put in a lot of work, I'm proud of my work. We'll get to go again and that's it."
[ #UFC257 | #InAbuDhabi | @VisitAbuDhabi ] pic.twitter.com/V7sOcRy1Uh
— UFC (@ufc) January 24, 2021
For Poirier, who turned 32 last week, this win follows his exceptional decision victory over Hooker last June at UFC Fight Night and despite losing to the unbeaten Khabib Nurmagomedov prior to that contest, he had enjoyed a terrific four-fight winning streak against Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez and Max Holloway.
After his win over McGregor, Poirier reflected: “I’m happy but I’m not surprised, I put in the work. Conor took this result very professionally and nothing but respect. We’re 1-1, maybe we have to do it again.
“The goal was to be technical, pick my shots, not brawl at all. I felt like I was boxing pretty well with Conor, he hit with some good counters."
It was a tight contest, in the first round particularly. Poirier took down McGregor at one point but McGregor performed productively courtesy of some smart shots, hurting his opponent in the process. However, the tide turned significantly in the second when Poirier landed decisive kicks on McGregor's hurt leg.
Poirier pounced on this tactic with several devastating punches, flooring the Dubliner against the cage and continuing the flurry of shots before the referee Herb Dean intervened to stop the fight, declaring the Louisiana native the victor by TKO in front of the 2,000 spectators.
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