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Dustin Poirier rematch likely for Conor McGregor when he comes back from ‘horror injury’

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Ireland's Conor McGregor of Ireland is carried out of the arena on a stretcher after injuring his ankle in the first round of his lightweight bout against Dustin Poirier during UFC 264 at T-Mobile Arena on July 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Ireland's Conor McGregor of Ireland is carried out of the arena on a stretcher after injuring his ankle in the first round of his lightweight bout against Dustin Poirier during UFC 264 at T-Mobile Arena on July 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Ireland's Conor McGregor of Ireland is carried out of the arena on a stretcher after injuring his ankle in the first round of his lightweight bout against Dustin Poirier during UFC 264 at T-Mobile Arena on July 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier are likely to collide for a fourth time following an anticlimactic ending to their fight in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

The main event at UFC 264 had been billed as the rubber match in a trilogy, and the record books will show that Poirier won by technical knockout. But that doesn’t explain what really happened.

With the first round in its latter stages and both fighters trading blows, McGregor fell to the floor as his left ankle snapped. The TV commentators would label it a “horror injury”.

Floored and physically incapable of standing back up, McGregor braced for impact as Poirier seized on his opportunity to finish the job. He lunged forward, hitting his opponent with a combination of unanswered blows.

All the Irishman could do was protect his head with his hands. Mercifully, the clock ran down. He had been saved by the bell.

Within seconds, referee Herb Dean called an end to the contest on medical grounds.

McGregor would remain propped up against the octagon until he was stretchered away.

For the capacity crowd in the 20,000-seater arena – including former US President Donald Trump – it was not what they had come to see.

“I was boxing the bleedin’ head off him,” said McGregor, a picture of frustration slouched against the cage. “This is not over. If I have to take this outside, I’ll take it outside. I don’t give a b****x.”

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He had some good moments during the five minutes of action, such as when he gained the upper hand and attempted to lock in a guillotine choke.

However, to suggest he dominated is way off the mark. If anything, Poirier had the better of proceedings.

UFC president Dana White stated that a fourth fight is likely.

“The fight didn’t get finished,” said White. “You can’t have a fight finish that way. Poirier will do his thing until Conor is ready.”

Poirier’s “thing” will probably be a lightweight title fight against Charles Oliveira.

After more than a year of almost exclusively staging fights in empty venues, Saturday night’s event at T-Mobile Arena saw the return of paying spectators.

Gate receipts of $16.7m (€14.1m) made it one of the highest-grossing shows in UFC history.

Money from pay-per-view sales is expected to push total income for UFC 264 close to the €100m mark.

McGregor’s immediate focus turns to rehabilitating his broken ankle. One can only hope he also uses the time to reflect.

Not for the first time, aspects of his conduct in the build-up to a fight were disappointing.

McGregor stated that he would “murder” his opponent. It was a remark Poirier, a father-of-one, took exception to.

“Murder is something you don’t clown around with and there is no coming back from that. This guy was telling me he was going to murder me and I was going to leave here in a coffin.

“You don’t talk to people like that. I hope this man gets home safely to his beautiful family.”

When Poirier beat McGregor in Abu Dhabi back in January, the Dubliner was gracious in defeat, describing his opponent as “one hell of a fighter”.

However, he would revise that view. During last Thursday’s press conference, he said: “He’s Buster Douglas. It was a fluke win and I’m going to correct it on Saturday night.”

When James ‘Buster’ Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson in their heavyweight title fight of 1990, it was – and remains – one of the biggest shocks in boxing history.

So unfancied was Douglas that some bookmakers offered odds of 42/1 about him beating Tyson.

Last year, the 30th anniversary of that upset, was marked by countless lookback pieces in the print and television media.

There will be no special commemorations of Poirier’s convincing win over McGregor six months ago. It was neither a fluke nor a shock.

On Saturday night, he merely underlined his superiority.


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