Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Dustin Poirier Says McGregor Saved Himself From KO Loss At UFC 264

UFC lightweight Dustin Poirier has suggested that he would’ve knocked out Conor McGregor again had the Irishman not grappled.

For the second time in 2021, Poirier entered the Octagon with McGregor in the UFC 264 headliner earlier this month. After dominating the round on the feet and on the ground, Poirier’s victory was confirmed after McGregor suffered a gruesome broken left leg with seconds left of the opening round.

But despite the anti-climactic ending to their trilogy bout, Poirier believes he was well on his way to victory regardless of the injury. Given the 10-8 first-round scores on two of the judges’ scorecards, it’s hard to disagree with his assessment.

Having appeared to rock McGregor on the feet early in the fight, the Irishman initiated the clinch, before later pulling guard with a guillotine submission attempt. And now, Poirier has revealed the moment when he knew his opponent was hurt.

While speaking with Teddy Atlas, “The Diamond” revealed that he saw the same look on McGregor’s face at UFC 264 that he saw before he finished him in their rematch earlier this year.

“We threw crosses at the same time. I slipped his and I kinda threw a looping cross that touched him good,” Poirier said. “Now I know. I saw the same eyes I saw in Abu Dhabi when I hurt him on the feet. He makes a certain expression, and his reaction is a certain way when he’s hurt and now I’ve seen it twice. It’s hard to explain but I know, and I saw exactly what I saw in Abu Dhabi when I had him hurt. So, he was hurt. Before the grappling and clinching and the takedown and all that he was hurt on the feet.” (h/t LowKick MMA)

According to Poirier, he certainly would’ve finished the fight had McGregor not altered his strategy and engaged in the clinch.

“I really feel if he wouldn’t have engaged in the clinch I think I would’ve finished him there. I saw the same look in his eyes and I knew I was a punch or two away from sitting him down.”

Poirier added that McGregor’s decision to pull guard through a submission attempt was his way of escaping the 32-year-old’s punches. Poirier suggested that McGregor’s choice to take up a position on his back was a necessary sacrifice in order to keep himself in the fight.

“He definitely didn’t want to be in that position, but he knew at that same time he wasn’t being punched, he was protected. Maybe it’s not a good position but it’s a better position than he was in,” Poirier said. “As a fighter we know those little battles that happen in the fight. They’re small battles that happen in the big battle and that’s what that was. That was him protecting himself, maybe (thinking) ‘ok, I may be on my back for a little in this round but I’m not going to get finished on my feet’. He was hurt and he was protecting himself. That’s what I really think happened there,” said Poirier.

Having defeated McGregor for the second time this year, Dustin Poirier will now move on and fight for the undisputed UFC lightweight gold for the second time in his career. Having turned down the chance to fight for the vacant belt in favor of a trilogy bout with McGregor, the Louisianan will now look to dethrone new champion Charles Oliveira.

After over a decade in the UFC, “Do Bronx” finally reached the mountaintop at UFC 262 in May. After overcoming some first-round adversity, Oliveira mounted an impressive comeback to knock out Michael Chandler. He’ll face a tough test as the underdog for his first title defense against “The Diamond” later this year.

Do you think Dustin Poirier can take the title from Charles Oliveira?