Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier: What We Learned from Featherweight Tilt

Nathan McCarter@McCarterNFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2014

Aug 16, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Conor McGregor poses during the weigh-in for his UFC fight at TD Garden tomorrow night. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Conor McGregor stopped Dustin Poirier quickly and efficiently at UFC 178 on Saturday night.

The two had been jawing back and forth all week long, and McGregor was confident he would stop him in the first round—and he did.

A left hand behind the ear dropped Poirier, and a few follow-up shots sealed the deal. McGregor is a bona fide star in the UFC featherweight division. A potential title shot could be up next for him, but will the UFC award him that honor?

What We'll Remember About This Fight

McGregor's ease of victory is what we will remember.

He was calm and relaxed. He picked his shots and finished Poirier easily. It is incredible to see a fighter so comfortable with the spotlight so early in his UFC career. It is the sign of a star.

What We Learned About Dustin Poirier

We didn't have time to learn anything about Poirier. He was dispatched that quickly.

Poirier entered in great shape, but he was not able to implement his game. We won't know what improvements he made to his game, or what his game plan was. It is an unfortunate side effect of such an amazing performance from McGregor.

Here's hoping he returns better than ever.

What We Learned About Conor McGregor

MMA Supremacy @MMASupremacy

Joe Rogan tells McGregor that 10% of UFC 178 tickets were sold from Ireland. Same thing that used to happen for GSP and Anderson Silva #mma

We learned he is a legitimate contender.

There is still a lot we don't know about McGregor, and the upper echelon of the division will test him on all those fronts, but defeating Poirier as easily as he did puts him into title contention. There is no doubting that fact.

Few fighters have been able to do what McGregor did on Saturday.

What's Next for Dustin Poirier

He will drop in the rankings but not too far. He is still in the Top 10. However, coming off a loss, he will need to fight someone on the same path that he is.

If you look at the rankings and recent results, the name that leaps off the page is Clay Guida.

Guida lost to Dennis Bermudez and is still ranked in the Top 15. It seems like a great opportunity to throw both featherweights into the cage against each other.

What's Next for Conor McGregor

Felipe Dana/Associated Press

The winner of Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes.

The champion and No. 1-ranked contender will fight in October for the belt, and McGregor stated in his post-fight interview that he will be flying down to watch the scrap. The UFC knows what it is doing, and he is flying down for a reason.

Does he deserve the shot? On his own—sure. But other contenders are ahead of him in the rankings who also deserve it—most notably, Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson. The UFC announced earlier this month that those two will fight each other in November. That opens the door for McGregor to slip in and take a title shot from the litany of contenders.

Bermudez should also not be forgotten. The talented featherweight has the current longest win streak in the division at seven. McGregor is not there yet. He is just a brighter star who can sell tickets and pay-per-views.

The UFC is a business, and McGregor is the rising star the company is looking for. He should get the next title shot, and he has earned it in the cage and with his mouth.