Fallout: What’s next for Conor Mcgregor and Dustin Poirier following UFC 264

Jul 10, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Dustin Poirier moves in for a hit as Conor McGregor defends during UFC 264 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Conor McGregor (22-6) was rendered unfit to continue past the first round at UFC 264, suffering a brutal ankle injury in the closing seconds of his first-round of his trilogy fight against Dustin Poirier (28-6).

Where the two fighters go from here is clear only in the near term. McGregor went off to surgery, while Poirier advances to the promised title fight with Charles Oliveira.

UFC 264 Fallout: Is a fourth fight coming between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier?

conor mcgregor
Jul 10, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Dustin Poirier pins Conor McGregor to the mat during UFC 264 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The specter of a fourth McGregor-Poirier fight lingers with strong hints at another bout from McGregor and UFC President Dana White post-fight.

Poirier dominated the first round, taking down McGregor and battering him with a barrage of ground strikes while avoiding McGregor’s threat of a guillotine choke from the bottom position.

When the two returned to their feet, McGregor threw and missed a punch. When landing on his back foot, his ankle twisted gruesomely underneath. The fight was called off as a doctor’s stoppage before the second round, with Poirier closing out the trilogy as the victor by technical knockout once more.

Two of the fight’s three Octagon-side judges awarded Poirier a 10-8 score after the first round.

Poirier told UFC commentator Joe Rogan he believes the ankle break was a result of his checking of one of McGregor’s frequent early-fight leg kicks.

“He fractured it on one of the checks at the beginning of the fight,” Poirier, 32, said. The Louisiana native also took the opportunity to criticize McGregor’s pre-fight trash talk, which Poirier said went too far.

“Murder is something you don’t clown around with. You don’t talk to people like that,” he added, before wishing McGregor safe travels home to his family.

McGregor–who had to be interviewed by Rogan post-fight while still seated on the canvas as his ankle was being tended to–argued that prior to the injury, “I was boxing the bleedin’ head off him and kicking the bleedin’ leg off him.”

The former two-weight world champion promised, “This isn’t over.”

White confirmed McGregor would enter surgery this morning to repair his damaged leg.

“The fight didn’t get finished. You can’t have a fight finish that way,” White added, touting the possibility of a fourth bout between the two bitter rivals.

Fallout: The immediate future for Poirier and McGregor

White promised that Poirier’s next fight would be for the UFC lightweight title against Brazilian champ Oliveira (31-8).

Oliveira, 31, captured the title in May with a sensational second-round knockout of former Bellator champion Michael Chandler (22-6) at UFC 262 earlier this year.

The UFC’s all-time submissions leader, Oliveira has in recent years added a dynamic striking arsenal to complement his world-class grappling and established a well-rounded and superbly dangerous MMA game.

For Poirier, who once held the interim UFC lightweight title, to fulfill what he believes to be his destiny and become UFC lightweight champion, he will face a stiff test in Oliveira.

McGregor, meanwhile, will likely be out of action for some time as he deals with what looked to be a frightening and significant injury.

While a timetable for his return is yet unknown, possible fights for McGregor on the horizon include a fourth bout with Poirier, a trilogy matchup against fellow star and nemesis Nate Diaz (20-13) or a contest with another of the lightweight division’s top contenders.

As Forbes’ highest-paid athlete in 2021, some questioned McGregor’s willingness to return to the Octagon at all following the second loss to Poirier, his second defeat in his last three Octagon outings.

Late Saturday, McGregor sounded focused.

“If we have to take this outside with [Poirier] it’s on. I don’t give a bollocks!”

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