At exactly 2:32 of the second, Herb Dean, the referee in the octagon, stopped the bout. McGregor was on the floor, helpless and beaten, while Poirier celebrated his big win and revenge against a rival who defeated him seven years ago.
A series of punches preceded one fierce right that broke McGregor, sending him on the floor. Two more strikes after that, and the fight was over.
This was triumph no.27 for the American fighter, and the second one after losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov in a match for the title-unification. More importantly, after this success, he is the top candidate to replace Khabib if he definitely decides to stay away from competing.
The way Poirier dismantled Conor was impressive. He would allow the Irishman to win the first round, but during the entire sequence, chop his leading leg. That continued throughout the second frame, and all of a sudden, McGregor’s movement was reduced. That is when one of the most ferocious boxers in the UFC began pounding the wounded rival, before inflicting him arguably the most convincing loss of his career.
Throughout his rich and eventful career, Conor was never defeated this badly in a stand-up fight. Obviously, only three appearances in the past four years, left a massive trace on the former champion, who showed a lot of ring rust.
He came out firing in the first round, but as soon as Poirier matched his pace, the Notorious couldn’t adjust to the new circumstances or make another push.
What is good for both him and the UFC, in general, is that Conor announced more frequent appearances in the ring over the upcoming period. It seems that at some point, the Irishman plans on attacking the title once again.
As for Poirier, he will hands full. Justin Gaethje believes he is Khabib’s successor, while on the other side, Charles Oliveria wants to prove his worth following a win over Tony Ferguson.
The only thing which could radically change the situation is to see Khabib coming back from retirement. In that case, whoever gets picked by the champion will have a chance to get the title belt. Others will wait for their turn.