McGregor’s loss to Poirier upsets Khabib bout plans
January 25 2021 10:32 PM

Conor McGregor’s bout with Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi on Saturday was supposed to bring clarity to the UFC’s lightweight division and the prospect of a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov, but his stunning knockout loss raises more questions that it answered for the division.
With thousands of McGregor fans in the stands — seemingly far more than the official attendance of 2,600 provided by the UFC — the stage was set for another triumphant night for the UFC’s golden boy, but Poirier tore up the script to win by KO in the middle of the second round.
UFC president Dana White had earlier been making no secret of the fact that he would like to see Nurmagomedov, who retired undefeated after beating Justin Gaethje last October, come back for a lucrative rematch with McGregor.
White was in immediate contact with Nurmagomedov to see if he had seen anything that would entice him back into the octagon, but he said the undefeated Russian was apparently sticking by his decision to retire, for the time being at least.
“He said ‘Dana, be honest with yourself. I’m so many levels above these guys. I beat these guys’,” White told a media conference as he watched what would undoubtedly have been a very lucrative pay-per-view event slip away.
For McGregor, it was a first knockout defeat as a pro and surely not an outcome he expected as he arrived in Abu Dhabi on his yacht in midweek, enjoying the trappings of the fame and wealth that this sport has brought him.
But this time he was to be the combatant ending the bout knocked senseless as Poirier avenged a 2014 loss at featherweight.
Along with Michael Chandler, who won the co-main event with a knockout of Dan Hooker, Poirier is now the top name in terms of title shots when White and his match-making team meet today to plan for the future, while McGregor considers his next move.
McGregor admitted he was “heartbroken” after Saturday’s defeat, saying, “It’s hard to take. I don’t know where I’m at, at the minute, to be honest,” said the biggest drawcard in mixed martial arts.
Nurmagomedov’s victory over McGregor in 2018 set an all-time record for UFC pay-per-view with 2.4mn buys.
The Russian was quick to mock McGregor on social media after Sunday’s fight.
“This is what happened, when you change your team, leave the sparring partners who made you a champion and sparring with little kids, far away from reality,” tweeted the Russian.
 The defeat may mean McGregor now explores other avenues, such as a money-spinning boxing match against the Philippines’ great Manny Pacquiao.
McGregor fought retired unbeaten boxing great Floyd Mayweather in 2017, earning an estimated $30mn in a blockbuster crossover bout.
McGregor deflected questions about the possibility of a fight against eight-weight world champion, saying he was more concerned with healing his damaged leading right leg.
Pacquiao had wished McGregor luck on social media ahead of the fight and tweeted afterwards: “Beautiful thing about the fight game, anything can happen!”
Well, that’s the key! Anything can happen! A Pacquiao vs McGregor bout simply cannot be ruled out.

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