Heading into UFC 257, indubitably one of many pervasive questions surrounding the fundamental tournament fight between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor used to be who had improved extra since their first fight relief in 2014.
Smartly, now we know. Within the 2nd round of the pay-per-survey headliner on Saturday night, Poirier answered such a questions definitively, viciously knocking out McGregor with a series of punches towards the fence.
McGregor has misplaced sooner than – a lot, if fact be told, over the last few years. But this one felt a quantity of. Moreover the fact that here is McGregor’s most meme-ready loss, it’s also his least explainable one. Nate Diaz? He had minute time to rearrange for a strange stylistic matchup and he blew his gasoline tank. He then got here relief and obtained the rematch. Khabib Nurmagomedov? It’s Khabib. No one beats Khabib.
But Poirier? McGregor already had a knockout non-public over Poirier, and he used to be predicting a raise out inner of 60 seconds. He spent remarkable of the make up for this fight talking about how ready he used to be and that this used to be the only version of himself. And he bought knocked out in 8 minutes.
That’s not an accident. Poirier didn’t raise out McGregor because he “had attributes” or because he’s a execrable stylistic matchup for him. He did it because for the last seven years, Poirier has been gradually bettering. Due to, in essence, Poirier took to heart the mantra of McGregor’s beget team, “non-public or be taught.”
In some strategies, Saturday night used to be the fruits of that mosey. McGregor isn’t honest the very finest superstar in the game, one who lifts others into the realm of wider public thought. For Poirier particularly, he used to be the archetypal villain, the one who handed Poirier his worst loss and compelled him to rethink his occupation in a prime system. After their first fight, Poirier moved up to lightweight and reinvented himself. He grew to alter staunch into a truly honest defensive fighter who boxed as a change of brawled. He save collectively wins. In his beget phrases, he grew to alter into mentally stronger by discovering out to “finish caring about the noise”. He gradually kept bettering. He obtained an period in-between title. He misplaced in his title shot. He bounced relief with indubitably one of many only fights of the yr. And then, at last, he conquered the one who device him down that path to birth with. It’s the location of a Disney film. The one thing missing used to be the championship, and that shouldn’t be some distance off.
Khabib Nurmagomedov is currently the UFC lightweight champion. But Poirier will not fight him subsequent. No one will. Khabib retired after his non-public at UFC 254, and since then, he has made his thoughts on returning dazzling trail: he’s not going to raise out it.
Now that the prospect of a pay-per-survey shattering rematch between Khabib and McGregor is off the table (such that it ever used to be on the table in the first build), the UFC can accelerate on to crowning a contemporary champion, and Poirier will most doubtless be one half of that fight. He absolutely deserves it. Poirier now has wins over numbers 1, 4, 6, and 9 in the present UFC rankings (and the discontinue-ranked featherweight). That’s extra wins over ranked opponents than anyone in the division, a quantity of than Khabib.
If Poirier goes on to raise the undisputed title and at last accumulate “paid in fat,” it’d be the staunch conclusion to his occupation. There’s actually not one other individual in MMA who would deserve it extra. Poirier is universally respected by the MMA world, and the motive this fight even got here about used to be Poirier and McGregor began publicly negotiating for a fight to income Poirier’s charity, The Excellent War Basis. But although Poirier loses in his subsequent fight and by no device does pause up capturing the undisputed UFC lightweight champion, that obtained’t non-public away from what he executed on Saturday night. He vanquished his demons and ascended to a rarified stage of stardom. As the pronouncing goes, stress makes diamonds, and on Saturday night, none confirmed brighter than Dustin Poirier.
“Khabib reiterates he doesn’t need to fight to any extent further – dude, I’m the champ. I’m not going to fight, some – and fancy I acknowledged, admire to Chandler – a contemporary guy to the UFC who honest beat a guy that’s coming off a loss that I honest beat for the belt. That’s not tantalizing to me.” – Dustin Poirier on presumably preventing Michael Chandler for the UFC lightweight title.
“Factual because he’s by no device had the opportunity. Gaethje honest got here out here and bought beat, as I did. Now not a knock on Gaethje, nonetheless he misplaced. I specialize in Oliviera, potentially, or allow them to fight to behold who gets it.” – Dustin Poirier on why he thinks Charles Oliveira deserves the title shot.
“If he needs to have his disrespectful comments, device relief and let’s bound all yet again, my man. I’m here for it. That’s preventing talk. In case you’re coming relief, device relief. You are trying to raise out it. That’s that.” – Conor McGregor on Khabib.
“I did test with Khabib. He acknowledged to me, ‘Dana, be well-behaved with yourself. I’m so many ranges above these guys. I beat these guys.’ I don’t know. I don’t know what he’s—it doesn’t sound very distinct, so we’ll behold.” – Dana White giving up that Khabib is ever going to fight all yet again.
“I’m by no device a truly finest man inner that octagon, nonetheless I promise you I can beat that man. I promise you I can beat Khabib, so I suggested him… I didn’t converse him in my thought, nonetheless I suggested him thru the camera lens. You’ve earned every honest to be ready to cruise off into the sunset and proceed residing your life and making your impact because you’ve executed it up to now. But, man, if you happen to ever raise out device relief, there’s a man over here expecting you from Excessive Ridge, Missouri.” – Michael Chandler on Khabib.
Dustin Poirier: For the total reasons listed above. Poirier not only bought relief his worst loss, he did so on the very finest platform of his occupation. Poirier is determined to receive the Conor McGregor bump in a mountainous system, and presumably even the lightweight title to resolve company with it.
Michael Chandler: Chandler had doubters coming into the UFC. A quantity of them. He has critically fewer now. Chandler ran thru Dan Hooker in a system no one else undoubtedly has an suddenly save himself in the lightweight title dialog.
Marina Rodriguez: Rodriguez got here into this fight having had two subpar performances towards grapplers. Smartly, third time is the attraction, I guess. Rodriguez peaceable bought taken down, nonetheless when she bought up she made it depend.
Julianna Peña: Five years previously, Peña gave the impact destined for a bantamweight title shot, nonetheless then she misplaced to Valentina Shevchenko and hasn’t been ready to make any momentum since. Ending old title challenger Sara McMann is a honest birth and puts her honest relief in the combine at 135.
Joanne Calderwood: Calderwood used to be speculated to fight for the title last yr till an damage to Shevchenko averted it. As an various, “Jojo” took a fight towards Jennifer Maia and misplaced. This non-public over Jessica Inquire of potentially doesn’t accumulate her relief to a title shot, nonetheless it undoubtedly does a minimal of resolve her in the dialog.
Brad Tavares: Tavares is nonetheless indubitably one of basically the most constant opponents in the middleweight division, racking up wins towards all nonetheless the very only opponents on the planet. Yet another workmanlike performance towards Antonio Carlos Junior honest affirms his build in the 185 ranks.
Conor McGregor: For the total talk of “non-public or be taught,” McGregor hasn’t been doing a quantity of both not too long previously. McGregor has not beaten an elite fighter since the Obama administration, and now the book looks out on the vogue to fight him. “Notorious” needs to construct some changes.
Dan Hooker: Hooker had a colossal opportunity to construct a reputation for himself on Saturday, and as a change, he bought folded up fancy a backyard chair by a UFC debutant. On top of that, Hooker honest seemed execrable in the fight. He gave the impact overly desirous about Chandler’s wrestling and presented minute or no in the system of offense sooner than getting clobbered.
Sara McMann: McMann is a old Olympic silver medalist and widely-respected MMA fighter, nonetheless she has a system of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and she did so all yet again on Saturday. A non-public would possibly well well need gotten McMann a title shot. As an various, at 40 years former she will be able to’t have remarkable time left in the cage.
Khalil Rountree Jr.: Rountree used to be indubitably one of many very finest favorites on the card and ended up losing a resolution to Marcin Prachnio. He’s now 1-3 in his last 4 and at possibility of being cut from the UFC.
Nik Lentz a hit Eric Colón’s scorecard isn’t a massive peer. But at this level, it’s expected that there’ll most doubtless be a minimal of 1 strange resolution happening on any given UFC card. Much extra troubling, despite the fact that, is the persevered decline of Herb Dean. For a selection of years, Dean used to be indubitably one of many only referees in the game, nonetheless these years are dazzling some distance eradicated at this level. Recently, he has been tormented by indecision or dreadful decisions alongside with his choices in stopping fights (and last weekend stood idly by as Max Holloway would possibly well honest have taken years off the lifetime of Calvin Kattar) and that difficulty reared its ugly head all yet again on Saturday.
Within the fundamental card opener, Marina Rodriguez dropped Amanda Ribas with a honest hand that had Ribas in all forms of peril. Rodriguez adopted her to the ground and started rifling punches into Ribas who used to be retaining onto a leg in desperation. Dean hovered by the two, preparing for his moment to leap in. He then looked as if it would raise out so, nonetheless modified his mind whereas stepping in. The result used to be that Rodriguez felt Dean construct contact with her and walked away triumphantly, only for Ribas to come up and for Dean to converse them to resolve preventing. Rodriguez obliged after which cracked Ribas with about a extra photos sooner than Dean stepped in to waive issues off.
There are two issues here that construct this so execrable. First, is that Dean usually modified his mind a pair of stoppage. Had Ribas recovered after which long gone on to raise the fight, Rodriguez would have a truly solid case that Dean negatively impacted the result of the fight, which is a core responsibility of the referee – to live fair. Secondly, he need to peaceable have stopped the fight! Ribas used to be conscious, nonetheless clearly executed, and as a change of conserving her from taking extra pointless punishment, Dean created a difficulty where Ribas stood relief up and bought lit up all yet again. Total, it used to be a ghastly performance by Dean, and we’re lucky he didn’t raise out something same in the fundamental tournament.
Dustin Poirier vs. Charles Oliveira: Poirier deserves to fight for the title, and Oliveira is the individual most deserving of the next one. This need to be easy.
Conor McGregor vs. Rafael dos Anjos: The Nate Diaz trilogy is what all americans is thinking and presumably what’s going to undoubtedly happen subsequent, nonetheless the RDA fight makes extra sense. McGregor needs to be pleased active and he needs to live in the lightweight title hunt, and with RDA all yet again a going area at 155, there is a selection of backstory here to make on.
Michael Chandler vs. Justin Gaethje: For years this used to be the dream non-UFC fight and now it’ll happen in the octagon, with a title shot on the freeway. A no-brainer.
Dan Hooker vs. Tony Ferguson: There will most doubtless be violence.
Joanne Calderwood vs. Lauren Murphy: Each females need one other non-public to avoid losing a mark on their title claims, and with issues trending toward Jessica Andrade getting the next crack at Valentina Shechenko, this seems fancy the only well-behaved possibility.
Makhmud Muradov vs. Brad Tavares: No need to overcomplicate this. Muradov is on a 14-fight non-public lag and deserves a crack at the middleweight elite. That is practically Tavares’ job at this level.
Marina Rodriguez vs. Claudia Gadelha: It’d be tremendous to present Rodriguez a destroy from these that are going to verify out and non-public her down nonetheless the strawweight division isn’t accommodating in that regard. Gadelha would possibly well be a mountainous scalp for Rodriguez and save her on the path to well-behaved contention.
Julianna Peña vs. Raquel Pennington: It’s roughly supreme these two haven’t fought already. Each females are coming off wins, so now would possibly well be the time.
Movsar Evloev vs. Shane Burgos. Burgos used to be speculated to fight at UFC 257, nonetheless an damage to his opponent forced him off the card. If Evloev is ready to construct a brief turnaround, this is able to well be a honest introduction for him to the discontinue-15 of the division.