“It’s hard to get over long periods of inactivity,” said McGregor after his third MMA fight since 2016. “I just didn’t feel as comfortable as I needed to be, you know what I mean?” It’s inactivity and that’s it. “
Poirier landed a left hand that made McGregor tumble into the cage in the middle of the second round, and followed up with shots that covered McGregor, with the TKO arriving at 2:32.
“I need activity folks, come on,” said McGregor, who told ESPN last week that he plans to fight seven times over the next 18 months. “You know, you can’t get away with being inactive in this business, and it is. So I’ll take my licks “
Those licks were painful and the Irish fighter added, “My leg is completely dead.”
For many, including UFC President Dana White, this was not the result expected. The surprise likely diminishes the chances of Khabib Nurmagomedov being lured out of retirement over a blockbuster rematch with McGregor.
What happens next, White told reporters he believed Poirier (27-6) turned against Michael Chandler after speaking to Nurmagomedov (29-0), who holds the title but said in October that he would go away Fighting the lightweight title will be different from competition. He said to me, ‘Dana, be honest with yourself. I’m so many levels above these guys. I beat these guys, ”White said of Nurmagomedov. “I don’t know. But it doesn’t sound very positive. We’ll see.”
White added that he plans to speak to Nurmagomedov again but does not plan to press him to return.
32-year-old Poirier, second in the lightweight division, wasn’t thrilled with the idea of facing Chandler, who impressed on his UFC debut on Sunday morning. Chandler (22-5 overall), three-time Bellator champion, knocked out Dan Hooker in the first round of the co-main event.
“I can guarantee that I won’t fight Michael Chandler,” said Poirier. “You can do what you want with the division. It is not a blow to him. It’s just my feeling for the division and the sport. “
Poirier, who avenged a loss to McGregor in 2014, wants a title shot. “I feel like I’ve done everything except that I can’t go away and say that I’m the champion,” he said. “I want to be the champion. If you are the champion, you can say that you are the champion forever. “
Nurmagomedov couldn’t resist a blow to McGregor after his loss. “This is what happens when you switch your team, the sparring partners who made you a champion, and leave sparring with young children far from reality,” he tweeted.
McGregor (22-5) replied, telling reporters, “My team has been the team since day one. I haven’t changed anything. It is what it is. Respect the athletes. That is surely the character of the man behind the mask. However; what does he want to do does he want to come back or not? If he wants his disrespectful comments, come back and let’s go again, my husband. I am there for that. This is battle talk. “
Nurmagomedov didn’t seem inclined to pull the bait and offered a more congenial message to White on Instagram. “You can like him or hate him, but you have to respect him. This guy builds this sport @ufc. Thanks for everything @danawhite. I have so much respect for you. “
Whatever the future holds, 32-year-old McGregor will have a place in it. He expressed his desire for a third fight with Poirier, saying he would “take a different approach”. “These kicks are not to be spoiled,” he said. “The calf kick, the low calf kick, I hadn’t experienced that.”
Later on Sunday, McGregor tweeted, “Wasn’t my night / morning there but a great competition to improve myself. I’m looking forward to the blockbuster trilogy that I now have in my hands. Dustin’s a damn good competitor and I’m looking forward to going back. “
“I think it will make him hungrier,” he said. “There are two options: hungrier or ‘I’m done’. ”