In the UFC 257 main event, Poirier survived an early storm from McGregor and then showcased his own power and striking prowess by dismantling the former two-division champion with leg kicks before and then unleashing a devastating series of punches that eventually stopped the fight.
The official end time came at 2:32 in the second round.
It was arguably the most important win of Poirier’s career outside of claiming an interim lightweight title as he not only vanquished a loss from his past but he took out the biggest superstar in all of combat sports.
“I’m happy but I’m not surprised,” Poirier said following the second-round stoppage. “I put in the work. Conor took this result professionally. We’re 1-1, maybe we have to do it again. I’m happy with the place that I am.
In a battle of strikers it was Poirier who actually went for a takedown in the opening round but McGregor was quick to work back to his feet as the fight became a battle of position against the cage. McGregor was relentless with his offensive output while throwing knees to the body and shoulder strikes to the head.
After resetting in the center of the octagon, McGregor began establishing his punches at distance but Poirier kept him honest while tagging the Irish superstar with leg kicks as well as a blistering right hand over the top.
As the fight bled into the second round, Poirier’s work to hurt McGregor with the calf kicks really started to pay dividends as McGregor started to noticeably favor his leg while still trying to throw fast combinations with his hands. While McGregor was able to clip Poirier a few times, there wasn’t as much pop behind his punches and Poirier knew it.
That’s when the Lafayette, La. native started to launch shots at McGregor without much fear of reprisal. He trapped McGregor against the cage with a stiff combination of punches before finally blasting McGregor with a short right hook that put him down to the mat.
Poirier followed up with another devastating right hand followed by a nasty left that put McGregor down and out as referee Herb Dean rushed into stop the fight.
“The goal was to be technical and to pick my shots,” Poirier said about his performance. “Not brawl at all. I have a big tendency, I had him hurt so I went a little crazy. I know Max Holloway thinks he has the best boxing but I have two wins over the kid.”
Considering he now holds a knockout win over a former champion in McGregor as well as the rest of the accolades on his resume, Poirier has seemingly separated himself from the competition in the lightweight division as he awaits word on what will happen next with the title as Khabib Nurmagomedov contemplates retirement or a return to action.
“We’ll see. I felt like this was the title fight,” Poirier said. “If Khabib’s not coming back, me and Conor are the two best guys. I think was the title fight. I’m the champion.”
As for McGregor, it was obviously not the result he wanted after a year away from the sport but he vowed to fight on with plans to stay more active for the remainder of 2021.
“It’s hard to overcome inactivity over long periods of time,” McGregor said. “The leg kicks were good. That leg was dead. Dustin’s some fighter. I have to dust it off and come back. That’s it and that’s what I will do. I need activity. You don’t get away with being inactive in this business. Well done Dustin. It’s a tough one to swallow.”