Conor McGregor suffers shock knockout defeat to Dustin Poirier on UFC return

Conor McGregor suffered the first knockout defeat of his career after a shock loss to Dustin Poirier on his return to UFC in Abu Dhabi.

The Irishman came out of retirement to fight for the first time in over 12 months in a rematch against Poirier, who he had beaten by knockout in 2014 after just 106 seconds in the pair’s previous bout.

But Poirier got his revenge in front of 2,000 fans at Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island when he unleashed a flurry of punches on McGregor in the second round, downing the Irishman with a swift right hand.

McGregor was left dazed on the canvass as the reality of his demise became apparent. The 32-year-old has now lost two of his last three fight since 2016 and he admits the American was more prepared than he was.

‘You know, it’s hard to overcome inactivity over long periods of time,’ said McGregor, who hadn’t fought since beating Donald Cerrone last January.

‘I just wasn’t as comfortable as I needed to be, but Dustin is some fighter. If you put in the time, you’re going to get cozy in here. I have to dust it off and come back, and that’s what I will do. … I’ll take my licks, but I’m gutted.’

McGregor’s future is uncertain but there was no immediate suggestion of going back into retirement at the Irishman’s post-fight press conference.

The Dubliner arrived to the press conference on crutches, though he says he was suffering from a dead leg rather than anything more serious.

‘My leg is completely dead, and even though I felt like I was checking them [Poirier’s leg kicks] it was just sinking into the muscle at the front of my leg,’ said McGregor.

‘Dustin fought a hell of a fight. I thought I was better than him in the clinch, but too little too late.

‘My leg was compromised and I didn’t adjust and that’s it, fair play to Dustin.’

Poirier’s victory means he’s earned another shot at the lightweight title in his next fight but the title is currently held by the retired Khabib Nurmagomedov and it’s unclear if he would return to the octagon.

However, given Poirier has levelled against McGregor, he’s not ruling out facing the Irishman for a third time in a winner-takes-all bout.

‘We’re 1-1 – maybe we have to do it again,’ said Poirier.

‘The goal was to be technical, pick my shots, not brawl at all. Then I had him hurt so I went a little crazy.’

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