UFC president Dana White says a fourth encounter between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier could be in the offing once the Irishman recovers from a brutal leg injury in their trilogy clash at UFC 264 early on Sunday.
The third bout between the two, coming less than six months after their rematch in Abu Dhabi, ended in shocking fashion at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, with McGregor’s left leg giving way at the very end of the first round.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, White confirmed McGregor would undergo surgery the following morning (Sunday US time) having suffered a fracture of his lower tibia.
However difficult a timeline is to predict, the UFC chief said Poirier-McGregor 4 made sense, although that Poirier would next be taking on lightweight champion Charles Oliveira. The American is 2-1 up in his rivalry with McGregor having defeated the former two-division champion at UFC 257 in the UAE capital in January.
“The fight didn’t get finished,” White said. “You can’t have a fight finish that way. We’ll see how this whole thing plays out. Who knows how long Conor’s out, so Poirier will do his thing until Conor’s ready.”
Asked when he thought the fourth bout could happen, White said: “You can’t do the hypotheticals in this sport. It’s all about timing, what’s going on, what’s happens since then.
"Conor goes into surgery tomorrow. We don’t know long how he’s going to be out, how much his rehab and therapy he’s going to need.”
McGregor, who turns 33 on Wednesday, has now lost three of his past four appearances in the UFC, with Sunday’s official decision being a doctor’s stoppage. McGregor had taken damage in the first round, with Poirier in the supremacy, before his left leg gave way behind him in the closing seconds.
Talking to Joe Rogan immediately after his victory, Poirier said of McGregor’s injury: “He fractured it in one of the checks at the beginning of the fight and he broke it on a punch, for sure ... I felt something, he was kicking me hard.
“There's no coming back from that. He was saying he was going to murder me, that I'd leave here in a coffin. You don't talk like that about people. I hope he gets home safe to his beautiful family."
A seething McGregor, sitting inside the octagon with his leg in a brace, told Rogan: "I was boxing the bleeding head off him and kicking the bleeding leg off him. This is not over. If I have to take this outside, I’ll take it outside.”