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Dustin Poirier knocks out Conor McGregor at UFC 257


Even though he was a significant betting underdog going into Saturday's UFC 257, Dustin Poirier silenced his critics once again, defeating Conor McGregor by second round TKO to set himself up for a future UFC lightweight title shot.

McGregor (22-5) edged Poirier (27-6-0-1) in the first round, showing his hand speed and connecting flush on several punches. Poirier was hurting McGregor's leg with calf kicks and landed several punches at the end of the round that seemed to boost his confidence going into the second round.

In the second, Poirier kept up the attack on McGregor's lead leg and kept gaining confidence getting into McGregor's range. The beginning of the end was Poirier hitting McGregor with a left hand and a right hook that put McGregor on his rear. Poirier landed another left to his downed opponent and it was over at 2:32 of the round without question.

Afterward, Poirier said he was happy and that since they are 1-1 against each other, maybe they do this again sometime. He put over his charity and didn't call for a title shot, saying he felt like this was a title fight. McGregor didn't have a lot to say afterward but that he plans to fight against this year and is not retiring.

With the win, Poirier avenged his 2014 TKO loss to McGregor while both were at featherweight. He's now won seven of his last nine dating back to February 2017.

The question now is what the UFC and Dana White do with the lightweight title currently held by Khabib Nurmagomedov. While White said Nurmagomedov was going to wait for this weekend's results to see if one of the performances would be enough to get him out of retirement, "The Eagle" said in a subsequent interview that wasn't the case and fighting again wasn't in his immediate future. Nurmagomedov dominated Poirier in a 2019 defense of the title, so it seems unlikely he would change course.

At the post-fight press conference, White said it doesn't sound promising that Nurmagomedov will return.

The obvious choice would be to pair Poirier and former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler who also impressed in Saturday's co-main event with a first round TKO win over Dan Hooker. 

For McGregor, his future depends on what his desires are at this point of his career. He had been talking about a boxing match against Manny Pacquiao, but that would appear dead given this result. There is always the possibility of the Nate Diaz trilogy fight, but Diaz is rumored to be facing Justin Gaethje next. There are plenty of other elite lightweights McGregor could fight, but whether they are names enough to interest the pay-per-view powerhouse in taking remains to be seen.