LAS VEGAS — Dustin Poirier now owns two victories over the biggest star in the history of mixed martial arts. This one, though, didn’t end in the cleanest way.
Poirier hit Conor McGregor with a combination at the end of the first round of Saturday night’s highly anticipated UFC 264 main event. McGregor went to plant his left foot and his leg buckled, sending him to the mat. Poirier followed up with punches on the ground as time expired in the round.
With McGregor’s leg clearly hurt, referee Herb Dean called the lightweight bout. The official result was Poirier by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00 of the first round. A stretcher was brought in to transport McGregor to the hospital.
The finish left the sold-out crowd disappointed. There was a mixture of boos and cheers when Poirier’s name was announced as the winner.
“Everybody booing, you can kiss my whole a–h—-,” Poirier said in his postfight interview. “I beat the guy.”
Poirier explained that he hurt McGregor’s ankle on a checked kick and then his ankle buckled at the end of the first round. McGregor denied that it was a checked kick that did it.
“This is not over,” McGregor said.
This was one of the most anticipated trilogy fights in UFC history. On top of the bad blood, UFC president Dana White said the winner would fight for the UFC lightweight title next against champion Charles Oliveira. .
Poirier stopped McGregor at UFC 257 in January via second-round TKO. In 2014 at UFC 178, McGregor knocked out Poirier in less than two minutes.
Poirier (28-6, 1 NC) has won three straight and has been beaten just once since 2016, a defeat in a lightweight title fight against undefeated all-time great Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Poirier is 11-2 (1 NC) since moving up to lightweight from featherweight in 2015. The Louisiana native, who fights out of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, is the former UFC interim lightweight champion. ESPN has Poirier, 32, ranked No. 2 in the world at lightweight.
McGregor (22-6) has just one win in four fights since beating Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title in 2016. He was the first-ever UFC fighter to hold two titles in two divisions at the same time