ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Dustin Poirere stopover Conor McGregor With a series of punches in the middle of the second round on Sunday, avenging his loss to the Irish star by winning by knockout in UFC 257.
Poirere (7-26) grabbed MacGregor with a series of shots in the head before spurring his knees with his left hand. Borier then sent MacGregor to the board with his short right hand and finished the match at 2:32 p.m. to the daze among the few thousand screaming fans allowed into the Etihad Stadium on Yas Island.
“I think this is a title fight,” Bouriet said of the lightweight match. “I am the hero.”
In his first fight in a year, McGregor (22-5) fought a powerful first round before being stopped by punches for the first time in his mixed martial arts career. McGregor, who all four of his previous losses came via submission, stayed on the canvas for several moments afterward, collecting himself after his second loss in three MMA fights since 2016.
“As you know, it’s hard to overcome inactivity for long periods of time,” said McGregor, who has not fought since beating Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds in January. “I wasn’t comfortable as much as I needed to be, but Dustin is a fighter. If I pass the time, it feels good here. I have to dust her and come back, and that’s what I will do. … I’ll take my lick, but I’m broken.”
McGregor and Boeret first met in September 2014 as featherweight heavyweights, and McGregor won by knockout in just 106 seconds during his breakthrough success early in his career. MacGregor became featherweight champion after 15 months, while Borier rebuilt his career with just one loss in his next 11 fights.
With a second chance to handicap McGregor while boosting his hopes of reclaiming the lightweight title, Borier did not miss.
“We are 1-1, so maybe we should do it again,” Bouriet said.
Download NBC News app For breaking news and politics
McGregor, who wore a shaved head and beard, had pushed the move early against Poirier, who landed early before retreating from the cage long distances from the first round. But Borier upset McGregor and kicked him in the leg throughout the fight before throwing the punches that ended him.
McGregor hasn’t fought regularly in recent years, but his popularity hasn’t diminished: UFC 257 is expected to be one of the most popular pay-per-view events in promo history, according to White, and distribution woes in the US early in the PPV portion of the card pushed fans to Bombing social media and ESPN with complaints.
The UFC returns to Las Vegas in two weeks’ time for another series of shows at the fan-free Apex gym on the company’s campus.