Conor McGregor has dropped a massive hint about a trilogy fight after being destroyed by Dustin Poirier in their lightweight bout at UFC 257 on Sunday.
Poirier scored a stunning second round TKO victory over McGregor in Abu Dhabi that left viewers stunned the Irishman licking his wounds.
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McGregor started the fight well, landing several solid strikes in the first round but Poirier gave as good as he got.
The American took a number of hard shots from McGregor, including a shoulder strike to the face while they were clinched, and didn’t buckle.
It was the same move McGregor used a year earlier at UFC 246 in Las Vegas to knock out Donald Cerrone - the Irishman's last fight in the Octagon.
But Poirier stuck to the plan. He chopped repeatedly at McGregor’s lead leg with the calf kick and it was swollen and bruised by the end of the round.
The final sequence began when Poirier landed a calf kick. He followed with a left hand and came back with a right and dropped McGregor. Poirier walked over and landed a blistering right and then another shot that caused referee Herb Dean to stop it.
McGregor described the defeat as "heartbreaking" and admitted he had no answer to the leg kicks from Poirier.
"My leg is completely dead," he added. "Even though I felt like I was checking them, it was just sinking into the muscle in the front of the leg, and it was badly compromised. It was like an American football in my suit at the minute, so it is what it is."
McGregor was seen on a crutch after the fight and later revealed on Instagram that he was looking forward to redemption in a trilogy fight with Poirier.
"Thanks for the support everyone! Was not my night/morning in there but a great contest to improve on. I'm excited at the blockbuster trilogy I now have on my hands," McGregor said. "Dustin is a hell of a competitor and I look forward to going again. Elevating the leg and the spirit on my way home! God bless us all, happy Sunday ❤️."
The 32-year-old called it a "phenomenal performance" by Poirier but vowed to "adopt a different approach for the trilogy."
"It wasn't my night. It wasn't a great night. Again, no excuses. Hats off," he told reporters.
"[I'll] regroup and pick myself up. I look forward to going back now and seeing the kids and just taking the licks."
Poirier said to reporters after the fight that "a rematch with Conor interests me."
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"I feel like I've done it all, except, I feel like I can't say I walked away, and I'm the champ, you know," he said.
"I want to be the champ. When you're the champ, you're the champ forever, and I want to be the champ. But yeah, I've seen the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows in this sport."
"Fighting is just something I do at this point in my career, but I honor this. I don't take this lightly, man," Poirier added. "I really respect the opportunity, and that's why this is so close to my heart."
UFC President Dana White said the loss for McGregor could go one of two ways - either driving him on to return stronger or accepting that his days in the Octagon are over.
"I think it will make him hungrier," White said to reporters.
"There's two ways this goes — hungrier or I'm done. He's got the money... It's tough to be a savage when you're living like he lives and has the money that he has."
"On his way up, he was a young hungry kid. He didn't have any money and he wanted nice things. He wanted nice suits, nice cars, nice houses," White added.
"He's got everything he ever wanted. So I don't know. It goes this way or that way."
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