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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 9 March 2021

Conor McGregor already planning for trilogy after 'heartbreaking' loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257

Irishman wants another fight with American victor or Nate Diaz

Conor McGregor says he will bounce back from his “heartbreaking” defeat to Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, as he eyes a trilogy fight with either his latest conqueror or Nate Diaz.

The Irishman, 32, returned to the octagon in the headline event at UFC 257, the finale to Fight Island Triple Header, but suffered the first knockout loss of his professional career.

McGregor was stopped by a combination of punches midway through the second round at Etihad Arena, although he later cited Poirier’s leg kicks as being decisive.

It was McGregor’s first competitive outing in little more than a year, and only his second since October 2018. A former two-division champion, his record now stands at 22-5.

“It’s heartbreaking, it’s hard to take,” said McGregor after limping into the post-fight press conference. “The highest highs and the lowest lows of the game.

“My leg is completely dead. Even though I felt like I was checking them, it was sinking into the muscle at the front of the leg and it was badly compromised. It’s like an American football under my suit at the minute.

“Dustin fought a hell of a fight. Fair play, I’m very happy for him. I’m very happy that I got to compete in these times and come back for my 11th UFC main event. And that’s it. It’s hard. I don’t know where I am at the minute.

“I have no excuses here. It was a phenomenal performance by Dustin. I don’t know what to say. I’m going to go back and chill out. I’ll watch the full fight and get a better grasp of it. It’s a bitter, bitter pill to swallow. I don’t even know if I’m that upset. I don’t know what to say.”

McGregor was asked if he was considering walking away from the sport once more, but said he wants another fight with Poirier – he defeated the American in their 2014 featherweight encounter – or Diaz. He took on the latter in two memorable bouts in 2016. Both rivalries sit at one apiece.

“I’ll certainly regroup, pick myself up, get up off the floor and go again,” McGregor said. “Styles make fights. There’s many great stylistic match-ups out there: Dustin and me are one-and-one, myself and Nate are one-and-one.

“I feel I’ll adopt a different approach for the trilogy with Dustin because those leg kicks are not to be messed with; that low calf kick I’ve never experienced before. It’s not that I haven’t got the style in me to switch it up and keep that at bay.

“I’ve a lot more weapons, [which] I didn’t get to show. It wasn’t my night. But again no excuses. Hat’s off. I’m looking forward to going back now and seeing the kids, and just take my licks.

“I’m not that upset, which is another weird one for me. I put in an immense amount of work, I gave it my all. I’ll regroup for sure. I’m a different man, but the competitive fire is still in me. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.”

Asked if he was at least pleased to be back competing in the UFC, McGregor said: “I am happy. I’m disappointed, but I’m happy for sure. I got to come out here and do this fight here in the Middle East, put on a show for the people.

“I did my best and things don’t go your way at times. But pick yourself up and carry on. I’ve got a lot of good things going on in my life and just got to keep my head high. Take the shots, take the licks and just keep on going.”

Updated: January 24, 2021 11:10 PM

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