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McGregor vs Poirier 2: Dustin Poirier shocks Conor McGregor in UFC rematch

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McGregor vs Poirier 2: Dustin Poirier shocks Conor McGregor in UFC rematch 2

McGregor now has a 22-5 MMA record having lost three of his last six UFC fights

Former two-weight world champion Conor McGregor was left stunned on his return to the UFC as Dustin Poirier claimed victory in their rematch at UFC 257.

McGregor came out of retirement for a third time to face fellow 32-year-old Poirier at Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island.

And although the Irishman edged the first round, Poirier unleashed a flurry of punches to secure a TKO victory 2:32 minutes into the second.

“I’m gutted, it’s a tough one to swallow,” said McGregor.

“His leg kicks were good, my leg was dead and I wasn’t as comfortable as I needed to be. I have to dust it off and come back.”

Poirier admitted McGregor had won the mind games before they stepped into the octagon for their first clash – a featherweight bout in September 2014 – and McGregor stopped the American inside 106 seconds.

That set “the Notorious” on course for global stardom, becoming the UFC’s first simultaneous two-weight champion before facing Floyd Mayweather in one of the richest bouts in boxing history in 2017.

Despite having just two UFC fights since, losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018 and beating Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in 40 seconds last January, McGregir seemed to start well.

He survived an early takedown in front of about 2,000 fans at the 18,000-capacity Etihad Arena, opened before the UFC’s third stint on Fight Island, and pinned Poirier against the fence for most of the first round, landed a few shoulder strikes like those that did so much damage against Cerrone.

McGregor said before the fight that, although he has achieved fame and fortune, he is still motivated to build a “highlights reel like a movie” in the UFC, and he tagged Poirier with a couple of right hand shots.

But “the Diamond” replied with a series of leg kicks before pouncing on McGregor midway through the second round to take his record to 27-6.

“We’re 1-1 – maybe we have to do it again,” said Poirier. “The goal was to be technical, pick my shots, not brawl at all. Then I had him hurt so I went a little crazy.”

What now for McGregor?

Since beating McGregor in 2018, Nurmagomedov won unification bouts with Poirier and Justin Gaethje to maintain his unbeaten record, announcing his retirement immediately after beating Gaethje in October.

Nurmagomedov’s lightweight title is yet to be vacated and UFC president Dana White said in the week that the Russian may consider returning for a rematch with McGregor or Poirier if he “saw something spectacular”.

But speaking after UFC 257, White said: “He said to me ‘be honest with yourself, I’m so many levels above these guys. I’ve beaten these guys’. I don’t know, but it doesn’t sound very positive.”

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