Dustin Poirier Beats Conor McGregor at UFC 264 via TKO After Notorious' Injury

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2021

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 10: Dustin Poirier prepares to fight Conor McGregor of Ireland during the UFC 264 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

Dustin Poirier claimed victory in his trilogy fight with Conor McGregor as the Notorious was unable to continue with an apparent leg injury after the first round.

It wasn't the conclusive end to the rivalry fans were hoping for, but it did offer an entertaining round before the fight came to an unfortunate end.

There was no love lost from the start as both fighters unleashed early strikes. This time, McGregor wasn't afraid to utilize some leg kicks of his own. 

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The fight took an unexpected turn with the rare submission attempt from McGregor. He jumped on the opportunity to try to put a guillotine off a Poirier takedown attempt but it only ended up with him putting his back on the mat. 

Poirier went to work with ground-and-pound, clearly winning the round. When McGregor missed a punch, he fell back on his leg, suffering the fight-ending injury.

ESPN MMA @espnmma

An injury to Conor McGregor's leg forced a Doctor's Stoppage in the #UFC264 main event. Dustin Poirier won via TKO. https://t.co/jsZVltGniI

After the bout, it was clear there's still heat between the two. Poirier referred to McGregor as a "dirtbag" while Notorious let him know he was ready for another fight. 

Brett Okamoto @bokamotoESPN

"This is not over. If we have to take this outside, we'll do it." -- Conor McGregor. I could see there being a fourth fight, but not in the near future. Disappointing finish for sure, but Poirier vs. Oliveira sure seems like it's next and that's a hell of a fight.

The rivalry between the two fighters has run hot and cold throughout its history but started back in 2014 when both fighters were still ascending up the rankings. McGregor's trash talk got to The Diamond, and he backed it up with a first-round TKO win.

Poirier first exacted his revenge in January with a second-round knockout win of his own, showing his evolution as a fighter since that first encounter.

While this win is a bit inconclusive, Poirier continues to be among the most elite the lightweight division has to offer. He picked up his second win over McGregor but could ultimately fight him for a fourth time given the premature end to this fight.

The Louisiana native hasn't lost a fight to someone not named Khabib Nurmagomedov since 2016. The list of wins in that time includes former champions Max Holloway, Eddie Alvarez and Anthony Pettis.

His resume was clearly good enough to challenge current lightweight champion Charles Oliveira, but Poirier opted for the trilogy with McGregor knowing that was where the money was.

"If I am the best in the world, then I'm gonna beat Conor and fight for the belt. It's like doubling down on yourself," Poirier told ESPN's Brett Okamoto (h/t Tristen Critchfield of Sherdog). "I'm a gambling man. I believe in my skills and fighting. So I just doubled down. That's what it was."

With this fight ending in such unsatisfying fashion, it will be interesting if Poirier waits for a fourth fight or goes for the title and fight McGregor again with the belt on the line.