Dustin Poirier is without question a world-class fighter and contender at 145 pounds, but at UFC 178, he ran into a hype train that never had any intention of slowing down.
Hype is a word commonly attached to success without comprehension. Despite only having three fights in the UFC, Conor McGregor still entered the cage as a prohibitive favorite over Poirier, a proven veteran.
If names weren’t attached, one would certainly confuse McGregor as a longtime superstar defending his position in the division against an up-and-comer. For months, McGregor-mania has been running wild, and Poirier figured he’d be the man to silence it all.
Unfortunately for Poirier, hype was revealed as truth on Saturday night, as McGregor proved to be every bit as good as advertised. He even finished the fight in the exact fashion and round he predicted weeks ago at the UFC 178 media day.
After enduring months of back-and-forth jawing, Poirier admitted to being “truly heartbroken” after losing to McGregor by TKO in the first round.
At only 25 years old, this is far from the end for Poirier, and there is plenty he can take away from the loss that can help him improve as a fighter.
There certainly is some validity to what McGregor said in his post-fight interview with UFC commentator Joe Rogan about the traditional muay-thai stance growing stale in MMA circles. The concept of “human movement,” as McGregor calls it, adopts Bruce Lee’s ideology of a fighter having no technique and being formless.
Basic footwork and predictable offense was ultimately Poirier’s undoing in this fight. His ability to bounce back from such a devastating loss should tell a great deal about his MMA future.
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon.