Running it back
Revenge for Poirier as McGregor is stopped in second round of UFC rematch
Dustin Poirier got the better of Conor McGregor in the UFC 257 main event in Abu Dhabi.

mma-ufc-257 SIPA USA / PA Images Dustin Poirier declared victorious over Conor McGregor at UFC 257. SIPA USA / PA Images / PA Images

CONOR MCGREGOR SUFFERED the first knockout defeat of his career in the early hours of this morning in the headline bout at UFC 257.

In a rematch of his September 2014 win over Dustin Poirier (27-6), McGregor (22-5) was beaten via TKO in the second round of their lightweight fight in front of a limited number of spectators at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.

It was sweet revenge for Poirier, who was resoundingly beaten by TKO in the first round when he and McGregor clashed as featherweights in Las Vegas over six years ago.

The Dubliner, whose four previous losses all came by submission, was on the front foot in the early exchanges and had the better of the opening round against his American opponent.

The second frame began well for McGregor too, as the former two-division champion continued to dictate the pace. However, Poirier’s leg-kicks were proving effective and they aided him considerably as he succeeded in changing the complexion of the contest.

With the impact of the kicks slowing McGregor down, Poirier began to come forward and soon had McGregor on the fence attempting to withstand a flurry of punches.

The 32-year-old Irishman desperately sought to fight Poirier off, but his efforts were in vain. After he was sent to the mat, Poirier followed up and referee Herb Dean was quick to step in and end McGregor’s night with two minutes and 32 seconds of the second round on the clock.

mma-ufc-257 SIPA USA / PA Images McGregor under pressure from Poirier. SIPA USA / PA Images / PA Images

McGregor insisted afterwards that he’ll be keen to return, while also lamenting his long periods of absence from the octagon. This was his first outing in a year, and his third since winning the lightweight title against Eddie Alvarez in November 2016.

His October 2018 defeat to Nurmagomedov was followed by a facile welterweight victory against Donald Cerrone in January of last year, which took 40 seconds to achieve. 

“It’s hard to overcome inactivity over long periods of time and that’s just it,” McGregor said in the immediate aftermath of his loss to Poirier.

“The leg-kicks were good, that low calf-kick was very good. The leg was dead and then I just wasn’t as comfortable as I needed to be.

“It’s the inactivity and that’s it, but Dustin is some fighter. If you put in the time in here you’re going to get cosy in here. 

“I 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 and that’s the way it is. I’ll take my licks.

“I’m gutted, to be honest. I put so much work in. It’s a tough one to swallow. I’m proud of my work. I’d like to have represented my team a bit better but we’ll get to go again.”

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Poirier declared himself the unofficial UFC lightweight champion, a title that continues to be held by Khabib Nurmagomedov, who hinted last week that he could be tempted to reverse the retirement decision he announced in October.

In any event, the win put Poirier in pole position for a title shot in the 155-pound division on a night when former Bellator champion Michael Chandler (22-5) also stormed into contention with a first-round TKO of Dan Hooker (20-10).

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