McGregor falls to surprise reversal on UFC comeback

By Daire Walsh

Conor McGregor suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Dustin Poirier on his return to UFC action at Fight Island, Abu Dhabi in the early hours of Sunday morning (Irish time).

Having overcome Poirier with relative ease in a previous duel in Las Vegas in September 2014, the Crumlin native (who also has strong ties to Lucan) was expected to do likewise in the 27th mixed martial arts bout of his career.

Conor McGregor

Crumlin’s Conor McGregor suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Dustin Poirier in the early hours of Sunday morning 

It seemingly had been going according to plan, until his Louisiana opponent gained the upper hand with a flurry of punches in the second round. While this was McGregor’s fifth MMA loss in total, it was just his third reversal since making his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut back in 2013.

After previously losing out to Nate Diaz and Khabib Nurmagomedov through submission, this was also the first KO of McGregor’s career. He has already announced his retirement on three separate occasions and this latest defeat will cast fresh doubts on the future of the 32-year-old.

McGregor had spent just over a year out of the UFC - his previous fight being a victory against Donald Cerrone in a welterweight bout on January 18 of last year.

He was returning to the lightweight division that had served him so well in the past and with a number of his right-handed jabs landing on Poirier, it looked set to be a fine night at the office for McGregor in UFC 257.

Instead, Poirier landed a right hook to put his Irish counterpart under pressure and after he continued to pile on the punches while McGregor was on the canvas, referee Herb Dean called a halt to proceedings with two minutes and 32 seconds gone in the second round.

McGregor had hoped a win here would potentially lure Nurmagomedov out of retirement for a rematch encounter.

It remains to be seen if this will still be a possibility, though one suspects that McGregor won’t be far from the limelight no matter what path he chooses from here.

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