Conor McGregor offered up no excuses after his return to the octagon ended in a shock defeat to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 on Saturday night.
‘Notorious’ had come out of retirement for the third time to take on his fellow 32-year-old at Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island and it was to be his first fight since stopping Donald Cerrone inside the opening 40 seconds of their bout back in January 2020.
The Irishman began the fight as if he’d never been away, as he edged the first round, but Poirier came out for the second in style, unleashing a flurry of punches on his way to sealing a technical knockout victory just two minutes and 32 seconds into round two.
The victory for Poirier was seven years in the making, as McGregor stopped the American inside 106 seconds of their previous meeting back in 2014, a result that sent Notorious on the road to global stardom, while his opponent was forced on the long road back to title contention.
However, that long journey would have felt all the sweeter for Poirier after Saturday’s victory and McGregor was full of praise for his opponent after the bout, while also vowing to comeback stronger himself.
“I’m gutted, it’s a tough one to swallow,” McGregor told reporters. “I felt stronger than him, but his leg kicks were good. I didn’t adjust. My leg was badly compromised, I’ve never experienced those low calf kicks, and I wasn’t as comfortable as I needed to be.
“I have no excuses. It was a phenomenal performance by Dustin. I have to dust it off and come back. I need activity, you don’t get away with being inactive in this business.”
The victory means Poirier could now be in line to fight for the vacant UFC Lightweight Championship that was previously held by Khabib Nurmagomedov, who announced his retirement after defending his title against Justin Gaethje back in October.