UFC lightweight Dustin Poirier says his loss to Conor McGregor was one of the only times in his career where he had to consider his future in MMA.
Poirier and McGregor first fought at UFC 178 in 2014. After some displays of the Irishman’s iconic trash talk, which “The Diamond” later admitted had affected him, Poirier fell to a first-round TKO less than two minutes into the fight. While McGregor went on to become a two-division UFC champion, the Louisianan grinded his way back to the top, setting himself on another collision course with “The Notorious” megastar.
After achieving interim title glory with a victory over Max Holloway in 2019, Poirier fell short of the lightweight mountaintop against Khabib Nurmagomedov. A Fight of the year candidate against Dan Hooker kept him firmly in the title conversation, but it was a return to his feud with McGregor that materialized next.
Poirier has faced and beaten the Dubliner twice in 2021. In January, he evened the score by becoming the first man to knock McGregor out. At UFC 264 in July, the 32-year-old took the trilogy win in a much more heated affair. Having dominated the opening round, the fight ended after McGregor suffered a gruesome broken leg.
While he’s found great success in recent years and could find himself with gold around his waist before the year is out, Poirier’s future wasn’t always certain in MMA. In an interview with Patrick Bet-David, the former Interim UFC Lightweight Champion opened up about his loss to McGregor seven years ago. When asked if he’d ever considered leaving the sport and finding other ways to make money, Poirier revealed his setback against the Irishman made him come close.
“There’s been a few times in my career where I’ve had that moment. (My first loss) was one of them. The first time I fought Conor McGregor was another one. I was close to a title shot. I was ranked in the top two in the world. And I went out there and got beat by a guy who was running his mouth and saying all these things. And when I got back home, I was just looking in the mirror, saying, ‘What am I doing here? What’s going on?’ I put everything I had into this and I went out there and lost.”
In the end, Poirier suggested he got through that period by responding like he always did. He dusted himself off and returned to training, ready to rebound in his next appearance.
“I was on a good streak. It was me or him who was gonna fight for the belt. And I took that loss. They all hurt, but (I) just got back home and I usually, when those things happen, I drown myself in the work. So I don’t think about it. I just get back in the gym every day: working, grinding, and it takes my mind off of those (moments).”
Having emerged successful in two money fights against McGregor this year, Dustin Poirier will now turn his attention to the title. At UFC 269 on December 11, “The Diamond” is set to challenge UFC Lightweight Champion Charles Oliveira. “Do Bronx” won the vacant belt with a second-round finish against former Bellator champ Michael Chandler at UFC 262.
Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 269, Dustin Poirier or Charles Oliveira?
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