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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 6 March 2021

Conor McGregor, no longer distracted by Manny Pacquiao fight, 'buzzing' for trilogy showdown with Dustin Poirier

Irish former two-weight champion suffered first KO defeat of his MMA career at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi

Conor McGregor says his preparation for a potential boxing match with Manny Pacquiao contributed to his defeat to Dustin Poirier, but that he’s now “buzzing” for the trilogy that “was always meant to be”.

The Irishman, a former two-division UFC champion, suffered the first knockout of his 27-fight professional career in the headline bout at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi last month.

Poirier prevailed by second-round TKO, having damaged badly McGregor’s leg, to even their competitive rivalry at 1-1. The pair met in 2014, at featherweight, with McGregor triumphing by first-round TKO.

McGregor, 32, had initially been targeting a crossover clash with “Pacman” Pacquiao for after the Poirier tussle, but that appears to have been pushed back to later this year.

Taking to social media late on Wednesday, McGregor posted highlights of the January 24 fight at Etihad Arena, writing: “I am most certainly on the right path. Despite the loss, I am on the correct path of evolution.”

Breaking down the encounter against “The Diamond”, McGregor added: “A little single disciplined in my approach and stance with mostly boxing. It’s what I get for picking this bout and opponent as a precursor to a boxing match against Pacman. I deserved to get the legs kicked off me going in with this thinking.

“This is not the game to play around with. Besides this tho [sic] my shots where sharp and I was in full control. Albeit the leg attacks where building up on me throughout the course. [Eighteen] in total thrown at me, with the final one buckling my leg fully, that was that. The peroneal nerve compromised. Fascinating! First time to experience it.

“Then a tremendous finishing flurry by my opponent. Hats off! A well fought fight by The Diamond.”

A third match-up between the two now seems most likely, where the lightweight title could even be on the line. Current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov appears to be committed to his decision in October to retire, meaning Poirier and McGregor might therefore face off for the vacant belt. Poirier, a former interim champion, is the division’s No 1-ranked challenger.

“[One] apiece now with a Trilogy [sic] bout for all the marbles!” McGregor wrote. “Not a trilogy I was expecting, nor the tactical affair I was anticipating, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t meant to be. This is exactly how this was always meant to be!”

Poirier, whose pro record stands at 27-6, looks to be keen on running it back. The American, also 32, later tweeted: “You know we are going to do it a 3rd time.”

Published: February 4, 2021 11:17 AM

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