“The rematch, obviously, I knocked him out, so there’s an ending to the fight,” Poirier said on The MMA Hour. “The [third fight], his leg breaks, so you don’t get that same feel. It’s a win on my record for sure, and I was winning, but the second fight, I put him away.
“The third fight, I don’t know what to say with that. That feeling, especially with the media or fans, people say, ‘You didn’t beat him.’ The second time I got that, ‘You beat him.’”
The sentiment following the third fight spurred calls for a fourth fight between Poirier and McGregor after a horrific leg injury ended the former two-division champ’s night at UFC 264. Initially, UFC President Dana White leaned toward another rematch.
For McGregor, and especially for his fans, the story needs to be finished. Poirier, though, remembers the end of the fight, and seeing McGregor on the canvas was all the closure he needed.
“I felt like I just won,” he said. “It is what it is. What a promoter the guy is sitting there holding a Gumby leg and setting up fights and still talking trash. Hey, let the guy recover and get healthy and come back, and we’ll see what happens, but I feel like I won the fight.”
To be clear, Poirier wouldn’t mind another go-around with his rival. After all the things that were said about he and his family at UFC 264, he’d like to make McGregor answer for his words. But time also appears to have tempered his feelings about his opponent’s personal attacks.
“For sure, some of the stuff he said is crossing the line, but this is the fight game, and I don’t write the rules,” he said. “I just go in and punish people for talking.”
The bigger issue is McGregor’s recovery timeline. It could be well into 2022 before the ex-champ is able to train for a fight. Poirier, meanwhile, expects to compete before the end of this year against undisputed lightweight champ Charles Oliveira. So he isn’t counting on a fourth bout any time soon.
“We’ll see what happens,” Poirier said. “I’m not sitting back waiting to fight him a fourth time. If it makes sense and it comes about, we’ll do it again. I’m just training and living my life. My daughter just started her first day of school today. I’m having fun trying to continue to grow as a martial artist.
“I’m not committing to anything. I haven’t spoken to the UFC about the title fight or their timeline. I haven’t been reached out [to] by the company. Anything’s possible, but we’ll go with what makes the most sense.”
Poirier isn’t sure what kind of fighter McGregor will be when the Irish star returns to the octagon after the broken tibia and fibula suffered at UF 264. He is not as willing as others to declare his three-time foe done. He’s also not overly optimistic.
“The road he’s going to have to recover that leg is going to be long,” he said. “But when you’re committed to things, and you bust your ass, maybe he can. Time will tell.”
If UFC 264 ends up being Poirier’s last dance with McGregor, he doesn’t feel like there’s any more that needs to be written in their story.