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Conor McGregor breaks down UFC 257 loss, wants trilogy fight against Dustin Poirier for ‘all the marbles’

UFC 257: Poirier v McGregor
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Former two-division UFC champ Conor McGregor said he picked the wrong approach to a fight with Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 as he angled for a boxing showdown with Manny Pacquiao.

Now, McGregor wants to right that wrong with a trilogy against Poirier, who avenged a 2014 loss via knockout this past month to even their series at 1-1.

“[One] a piece [sic] now with a Trilogy bout for all the marbles!” McGregor wrote Wednesday on Instagram. “Not a trilogy I was expecting, nor the tactical affair I was anticipating, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t meant to be. This is exactly how this was always meant to be!”

Before UFC 257, McGregor sought a fight with former boxing champ Pacquiao in a return to the square circle after an extremely lucrative setback against Floyd Mayweather in 2017. But he wound up signing to face Poirier again after the two negotiated publicly for a charity MMA fight.

As McGregor often does after a setback, he posted an extended breakdown of his performance, highlighting the positives and negatives from the action in the octagon (and he took a little time to promote a product he endorses). In this case, it was a competitive first round that quickly turned around in the second frame as calf kicks thrown by Poirier set up a flurry of punches that brought the first knockout loss of his professional career.

The way McGregor tells it, he had his eye off the ball just a little bit even before he stepped into the cage on Fight Island. Once inside, he said, he was enjoying himself and perhaps strayed from the most intelligent approach to a seasoned talent like Poirier.

“A little single disciplined in my approach and stance with mostly boxing,” McGregor wrote. “It’s what I get for picking this bout and opponent as a precursor to a boxing match against Pacman. I deserved to get the legs kicked off me going in with this thinking.”

As with his post-fight reaction, McGregor took nothing away from his opponent as he dealt with the effects of Poirier’s calf kicks, which he said left him feeling like he had a football in his shoe. But he characterized it as a learning experience from which to grow.

“This is not the game to play around with,” the Irish star said. “Besides this tho [sic] my shots where sharp and I was in full control. Albeit the leg attacks where building up on me throughout the course. 18 in total thrown at me, with the final one buckling my leg fully, that was that. The peroneal nerve compromised. Fascinating! First time to experience it.

“Then a tremendous finishing flurry by my opponent. Hats off! A well fought fight by The Diamond.”

Since Poirier’s knockout win, there’s been heated speculation on the fate of the lightweight division, which is poised to lose its champion after Khabib Nurmagomedov demurred on a comeback. Poirier has welcomed the idea of a trilogy with McGregor, which would buck UFC rankings but would undoubtedly add several zeroes to his bank account. He’s also discussed the possibility of letting contenders Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira fight for the belt and returning later. And then there’s a potential fight with Nate Diaz, who recently called him out.

None of the prospective opponents can compete with McGregor’s box-office heft, which may seal the deal. McGregor is currently 1-1 in rematches, having beaten Diaz in an immediate do-over from his shocking loss at UFC 196 and fallen to Poirier this past month.

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