TNT Sports Reload - Episode 11Sep 26
The highly-anticipated fight was settled by a doctor’s stoppage at the end of a frenetic first round, with UFC president Dana White confirming the injury.
But the bad blood continued in the post-fight interviews as the pair traded barbs with McGregor insisting: “This is not over!”
There was plenty of needle in the build up to what was expected to be the decider, but scores look far from settled with the way this one played out.
Poirier vs McGregor 3 - Full Fight Recap
Adorned by the Irish flag and producing his trademark billionaire strut as he entered the octagon, McGregor entertained the Las Vegas crowd - who made a return for the first time since March 2020.
He had been back to his usual antagonistic self throughout fight week and even tried to confront his opponent as Poirier made his entrance in front of 20,000 at the T-Mobile Arena.
The Irishman came out flying with two spinning kicks and instantly showed off MMA skills that were clearly missing in their January meeting, when McGregor had been training for a boxing match.
The calf kicks that the American produced in spectacular style at UFC 257 looked as though they had been added to Notorious’ game plan this time around.
Poirier insisted his check of one of those kicks ultimately fractured McGregor’s leg that led to the break later in the round – something Mystic Mac denied!
It looked as though we could be set for another early stoppage, not quite Jose Aldo style, as the pair grappled on the fence and McGregor tried to secure a guillotine.
But Poirier battled back well to reverse and get on top of his opponent, before landing some heavy elbows to McGregor’s head as the fight began at an incredible rate.
This is not over. If I have to take this outside with him, it's on!
- Conor McGregor
The Diamond smothered his opponent and tried to fire off powerful shots against a stricken McGregor who had to cover up to survive the barrage of shots.
That’s not to say the former two-weight world champion didn’t hit back with some counter kicks of his own, but Poirier looked assured and in control.
With just seconds of the first round left, The Diamond stepped away from the fence and McGregor jumped to his feet before looking to let fly.
As the pair tried to exchange shots, the 32-year-old missed with a punch and as he fell backwards he appeared to roll his ankle and that's when the break happened.
McGregor clambered back to the fence and held for the remaining seconds before referee Herb Dean called time on the fight on the doctor’s recommendation.
He was putting his fingers in my glove and pulling me down to throw the kicks... this guy is a dirt bag.
- Dustin Poirier
The images were rather gruesome and McGregor was visibly in pain as he cried out – partly in frustration – as the fight came to a premature close.
But that wasn’t the end for Poirier who mocked his opponent, while stranded against the fence and with his foot in a cast, by mimicking the billionaire strut.
Insisting the outspoken Dubliner had gone too far in his personal comments in the build up to the fight, the number one-ranked lightweight continued the spat as he took to the microphone and labelled McGregor a “dirt bag”.
A title shot against Charles Oliveira would appear on the cards for Poirier but neither fighter seemed content to let their feud end at UFC 264 and it looks set to continue.
Conor McGregor - Next fight
So what next for McGregor?
Naturally recovering from his injury will be priority number one and as he alluded to Joe Rogan post-fight, it appears a similar injury to that suffered by UFC legend Anderson Silva in the past.
The Brazilian did make a full recovery and was able to return to the octagon, but was he ever the same?
That will be the big question for McGregor – what is the lasting damage and can he compete at the elite level once again?
If he can, then a fourth showdown between the pair may well be on the cards – neither man will want to end their rivalry like this.
But if not Poirier, the Irishman will always have plenty of options both in the UFC and beyond such is his Box Office draw.
The Nate Diaz trilogy is always on the backburner, while a showdown with "BMF" champion Jorge Masvidal could also be of interest.
Rafael Dos Anjos is another who would be on the shortlist, with the pair set to meet at UFC 196 before the Brazilian was forced to miss out through injury. They had a backstage run in this week and that could spark a future bout.
Away from UFC, McGregor could return to boxing with a fight against Manny Pacquiao discussed ahead of UFC 257, as well as a potential rematch against Floyd Mayweather or facing YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul who has repeatedly called out Notorious.
Whatever the world's highest paid athlete decides to do next, one thing is for sure – fans will be as eager to watch as ever.
UFC 264 - Results
Gilbert Burns defeats Stephen Thompson via unanimous decision
Gilbert Burns claimed a unanimous (29-28) decision victory over Stephen Thompson before calling out Jorge Masvidal, Nate Diaz and Britain's Leon Edwards.
The 34-year-old limited Thompson to just a handful of significant strikes in the first round as he controlled the bout and the grapple against the fence.
Wonderboy got a foothold in the second, but the Brazilian did manage to complete another takedown late in the round with the pair exchanging shots in the dying seconds.
The fight threatened to explode into life midway through the third, before active jiu jitsu competitor Burns completed another takedown to the disappointment of the Vegas crowd.
Ultimately the second-ranked welterweight showed his class against the experienced American as he looks to secure another shot at Kamara Usman’s gold.
Tai Tuivasa defeats Greg Hardy via first-round TKO
Is there anyone in the world of UFC having more fun than Tai Tuivasa?
The larger-than-life character made his ring walk to Spice Girls’ ‘Wannabe’ before enjoying his third-straight win with his customary ‘Shoey’ celebration.
Greg Hardy caught the Australian with two right hands to the top of the head that had Tuivasa wobbling, but as the former NFL star went for the finish he was countered with a knockout blow.
Tuivasa ducked a left hook and caught Hardy with one of his own to drop the American in true heavyweight fashion.
And Bam Bam certainly relished the return of the capacity crowd in the T-Mobile Arena, as he sampled several of the spectator’s ‘Shoey’s’ on his way from the octagon!
Irene Aldana defeats Yana Kunitskaya via first-round TKO
Irene Aldana picked up a statement win over Yana Kunitskaya, who came into the fight just one place below her opponent in the rankings, to show she’s far from done.
Ranked fourth in the women's bantamweight division, Aldana bounced back from her defeat to Holly Holm last time with her boxing skills coming to the fore.
The Mexican had to take some kicks early in the round, with Kunitskaya tying up her opponent on the fence and landing an elbow as they separated.
But after catching the Russian with a strong jab, that saw blood stream from Kunitskaya’s mouth, Aldana took control and set up the victory with a counter left hook.
The shot downed her opponent for a second time and ultimately helped secure the first-round stoppage with some good ground and pound work.
Sean O'Malley defeats Kris Moutinho via third-round TKO
“Kris is a bad mother******!”
That was Sugar Sean O'Malley’s verdict of his opponent and UFC debutant Kris Moutinho, who showed incredible grit and resilience to walk through a barrage of shots.
Heavy favourite with the bookmakers, O'Malley was given a stern test of his credentials as Moutinho, sporting a vibrant green mullet, announced himself to UFC fans with a never-say-die attitude.
Saved by the bell at the end of the first, having been downed by a straight right and in the midst of a guillotine, the 28-year-old battled back to grow into the bout.
Despite a UFC bantamweight record for strikes landed in the first round, he continued to walk down O'Malley throughout – before referee Herb Dean intervened with 30 seconds to go.
One thing is for sure, we’re in for some epics if this is the template of what’s to come from Moutinho!