As the dust settles on that manic, shocking and frustrating night in Las Vegas, Dustin Poirier looks back on some good work.
His victory over Conor McGregor in the headline act of UFC 264 was completely unpredictable in both the five minutes in the cage and the horrific conclusion.
McGregor suffered perhaps the worst round of his career with two judges scoring it a 10-8 before the Irishman compounded his woes by breaking his shin in the closing seconds.
Dustin Poirier dominated Conor McGregor before the Irishman broke his leg
Poirier says he hurt McGregor, which is why the Irishman started a clinch
Poirier was denied the finish to which his work in the opening stanza seemed to be growing and despite his dominance, aspects of the fight came as a surprise.
Prior to the event, McGregor said, “The first to shoot for a takedown is a dusty b****,” to which Poirier replied, “How about the first to be shot down is a dusty ‘b****, this is MMA. Put it all together. It smacks of insecurity to me.’
So when Poirier landed a smooth combination and his opponent scrambled to the clinch and attempted a submission, it came out of left field.
The Louisiana native was told exclusively Sports post“I wouldn’t say it surprised me how much I dominated the first lap, what surprised me was that he tried to subdue me and give up position.
McGregor was well beaten in a 10-8 round on two judges’ scorecards in the first round
“The fight plays out in your head for weeks, there are a million ways it could play out, but jumping him on the guillotine is never something I thought of, that was a little surprising. But my achievements, abilities and what I think I can do doesn’t surprise me.
“I thought he was hurt and was trying to protect himself (by getting into a clinch), that’s what that was. It just sucks for him to say all those things and then initiate that clinch.”
The pre-fight words came back to haunt McGregor, including his prediction that Poirier would be carried out of the arena on a stretcher when it turned out to be the Dubliner that was.
McGregor’s furious outrage on the mic, admitted as he suffered a horrific injury and massive disappointment, then strayed into the personal when he tried to incite Poirier by talking about his wife.
The American handled it admirably and will not get carried away by the ugly diatribe. He added: “It is what it is, man, I don’t want to keep kicking a man when he’s down, keep talking about the negativity, there’s a lot of positives out there.
McGregor fired for a takedown and attempted a guillotine, but lost his position
“We just auctioned off the stuff I carried to the Octagon to help build homes and a pharmacy in Uganda, so you know there’s a lot of positive things to talk about, I don’t want to beat up a man all the time .’
Eyebrows have been raised over the way the McGregor camp handled the outcome, with the highly respected coach John Kavanagh being widely criticized for his first-round assessment.
McGregor’s longtime coach told Laura Sanko, “I wasn’t worried at all (how it went), I was actually very, very happy.
‘Everything is gravy at half past three. Energy looked good, technique looked good.
“A few adjustments between rounds and I thought we were on the right track to finish there or at least continue, keep the rhythm for the rest of the fight.”
McGregor predicted Poirier would go out on a stretcher, but it was he who was carried away
Poirer’s coach Mike Brown pointed out that the judges’ scorecards showed that the assessment was wrong and admitted himself that this is not what he would have told a fighter he was in a corner.
He added: ‘Personally, I join up with emerging young fighters, even established fighters that I can help. If I was working with someone in their corner and a round went like this, I certainly wouldn’t say this was the way I wanted it to go.
“But anything is possible in fighting and maybe he could have made a shot that ended the fight – too bad we didn’t see what would happen.”
Much was made of Poirier’s decision to turn down the chance to fight for a vacant title in favor of the more lucrative match against McGregor.
“This isn’t over yet,” McGregor bellowed into the mic after the doctor’s intermission, but how does his opponent feel?
Poirier has not ruled out a fourth fight with McGregor further down the line
A fourth fight anywhere down the line would still spark huge interest and another great payday, but competitively ‘Diamond’ feels he has shown he is the superior fighter.
He continued: ‘I think I’ve proven myself the better fighter here twice in a row, but we’ll see what happens in the future (about a fourth fight).
“I don’t know when he will come back, he has a long recovery, a long road ahead. I’m next in line for a title shot, it’s hard to say what’s going to happen in the future, I don’t know.”
McGregor will be sidelined for about a year, according to UFC President Dana White, and Poirier, still the No. 1 contender, will advance to a title shot.