Conor McGregor’s hopes of luring Khabib Nurmagomedov into a rematch are in tatters after he was stopped by Dustin Poirier in a seismic upset at UFC 257 at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
McGregor had beaten Poirier inside two minutes in September 2014 and was overwhelming favourite to see off his lightweight rival again in a bid to get fierce adversary Nurmagomedov to reverse his retirement decision.
But the American managed to gain revenge, surviving one or two nervy moments in the first round and then gaining the upper hand in the second round with some savage kicks to McGregor’s lead leg.
Poirier forced McGregor back with a flurry of punches, flooring him with a short right hook before a couple of blows to the defenceless Irishman led to the end of the fight after two minutes and 32 seconds of the second round.
This was McGregor’s first fight in a year when he stopped Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds. Before that he had not stepped inside the octagon since October 2018 when he lost to Nurmagomedov.
After an early feeling out process, Poirier managed to get the takedown in the first round but McGregor was soon back on his feet and landing shoulder strikes that proved so effective in his welterweight victory over Cerrone.
A sharp elbow momentarily buzzed Poirier, as did a counter right uppercut although he responded with a smart check hook and was regularly kicking out at McGregor’s right calf in an attempt to stifle his rhythm.