Dustin Poirier now owns two triumphs over the biggest star in the history of mixed martial arts. This one, though, didn’t end in the cleanest way.
Poirier hit Conor McGregor with a combination at the end of the first round of Saturday night’s highly anticipated UFC 264 main event. McGregor went to plant his left foot and his leg buckled, sending him to the mat. Poirier followed up with punches on the ground as time expired in the round.
With McGregor clearly hurt, referee Herb Dean called the lightweight fight. The official result was Poirier by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00 of the first round. A stretcher was brought in to transport McGregor to the hospital. The video replay showed McGregor’s lower leg bent gruesomely as his foot hit the canvas. UFC president Dana White later stated the injury was to McGregor’s lower tibia and that he will have surgery Sunday morning.
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The finish left the sold-out crowd disappointed. There was a mixture of boos and cheers when Poirier was declared as the winner. This was one of the most anticipated trilogy fights in UFC history.
“I beat the guy,” Poirier said in his postfight interview.
Poirier explained that he hurt McGregor’s ankle on a checked kick and then the ankle buckled at the end of the first round. McGregor denied that it was a checked kick that did it. Poirier picked up his 15th career first-round finish.
“This is not over,” McGregor said.
White said Poirier will fight for the UFC lightweight title next versus champion Charles Oliveira and that when McGregor is healthy he will probably get a fourth fight against Poirier.
“When Conor is healed and ready to go, we’ll do the rematch, I guess,” White said. “Poirier will do his thing until Conor is ready.”
Oliveira told ESPN’s Mike Coppinger he expects the fight with Poirier to possibly be in December.
“It’s really sad what happened [to McGregor], but if you look at Poirier’s game, he’s been improving a lot, he’s been putting a lot of pressure, so he deserves the win,” Oliveira said of Saturday night’s result.
White said he believes that had McGregor not been injured, he would have gotten out of the first round.
“His ankle snapped from throwing punches. He was fighting back,” White said. “It wasn’t like he was up against the cage with Dustin unloading punches on him. If his ankle doesn’t break, I think we get to the end of the round.”
Poirier, for his part, said he and McGregor “are going to fight again, whether it’s in the Octagon or on the sidewalk. … He was saying that he was going to kill me. You don’t say stuff like that.”
Poirier said he wasn’t sure he felt a sense of closure following the trilogy.
“I need to digest it all, because right now, it kind of feels weird,” he said. “It’s not a good feeling.”
Poirier stopped McGregor at UFC 257 in January via second-round TKO. In 2014, at UFC 178, McGregor knocked out Poirier in less than two minutes.
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