Video Credit: MMA Crazy

New FSM Essential Recap: UFC 264 – McGregor vs Poirier


UFC 264 didn’t give us the ending we wanted but it gave us answers we needed for what’s next?


UFC 264
Photo Credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

One of the most anticipated trilogies’ in UFC history headlined UFC 264 as Dustin Poirier ( 27-6 ) stepped in the octagon for the second time this year to battle Conor McGregor ( 22-6 ). With the series tied at one win apiece, both were looking to not only end this rivalry with a victory but to earn themselves a shot at the title in their next bout.

The arena was packed, energy at a high pitch, many waiting to see if Conor, who has struggled in his last 4 outings to the octagon as he’s 1-3 over that span, has found his mojo and will return to the form that made him the first UFC double champion. But there were also many watching to see if Poirier, who has completely turned his career around after losing the first encounter with McGregor back in 2014, is truly ready for the big stage and can prove his KO over the Irishman earlier this year wasn’t just a fluke moment.

Entering the ring, the two nearly came face to face as they couldn’t wait for the bell to get this war started. From the get-go, Conor used the same strategy he implored in his rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 202 in 2016, leg kicks, leg kicks, leg kicks. In their meeting at UFC 257 in January, calf kicks are what changed the direction of the bout for Poirier, so this time Conor wanted to make sure he set the tone early and often.

After some back and forth, Dustin started to find his rhythm and even moved back McGregor with some combos that forced the Irishman to engage in a clinch. From here, the match went to the ground where Poirier is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. Controlling body positioning, Poirier held Conor down and applied some ground and pound with vicious elbows.

But McGregor would not be outdone as he would use his feet on the hips of Dustin to provide space for his own elbows from the bottom position along with some up kicks. Despite his efforts from the bottom, McGregor would spend most of the round on his back defending against ground and pound for Poirier. The two would get to their feet with little time left on the clock for the round, and punches were exchanged as McGregor was looking to land his lethal left hand while Poirier was looking to put the final nail in Conor’s coffin.


UFC 264
Photo Credit: Twitter

Both would throw a punch at the same time and miss. Upon stepping back, Conor’s left ankle would collapse underneath him, causing him to fall to the mat. Without knowing the cause of the fall down, the referee allowed the bout to go on as Dustin jump in with punches hoping to get a stoppage. As the horn sounded, McGregor and the referee knew this was it as Conor’s ankle was flimsy, and he couldn’t stand.

The bout was called, and that was the end of the match, at least. As doctors and trainers came into the octagon, McGregor and Poirier were still jawing at each other; Poirier even mocked Conor by doing McGregor’s signature million-dollar strut. Dustin who has always shown himself to be about class in and outside of the cage, let it be known that he didn’t feel sorry and would want to run it back a fourth time given some of the exchanges these two shared.

As he sat on the floor against the cage, McGregor could be heard yelling in pain and frustration but also had some unkind words to say towards Dustin as this wasn’t the ending everyone expected, so the rivalry isn’t over.


So what’s next for Poirier and McGregor and the lightweight division?


UFC 264
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Going into UFC 264, many questions were on the table. Who will challenge for Charles Oliveira’s title later in the year? Who does the loser go on to face? How would this affect either legacy? Well, we now know Dustin Poirier will be the one moving on for another shot at gold against Oliveira sometime later this year. Possibly at the annual Madison Square Garden show in November. Poirier is a former interim champion but now will have the chance to be the undisputed champion at 155lbs should he be able to dethrone the champion.

For McGregor, a timetable is unknown for his recovery. But more so, Conor needs to have a deep conversation with himself on if this is still the life he wants? After all of his success, many wonder how much passion Conor still has to be among the elite? He clearly is the sport’s biggest draw. Still, he has the tools to go headhunting in a fight. But now more holes in his game are being exposed, fighters are evolving while he seems to be stuck in his old ways, and as the late great boxing middleweight champion Marvin Hagler once said, “it’s hard to run five miles when you’re waking up in silk sheets.”

If fighting is still what he wants to do, maybe he needs a step down in competition to get his confidence back and get those fires burning again like they were during his run to the top. Of course, a trilogy bout against Nate Diaz seems like the best bet given they both are coming off losses so, and with Conor’s uncertain future, cash in while you can if you’re the UFC. He could also face others within the division like Tony Ferguson, maybe a rematch against Max Holloway. There are always going to be options for Conor should he step back in the octagon.

It’s just a matter of, does he truly wants to fight still to be the best or has success allowed too much comfort that his better days are behind him? Time will tell.


Also on the UFC 264 card were some other exciting bouts:


UFC 264
Photo Credit: John Locher/AP

In the co-main event, Gilbert Burns ( 20-4 ) got back in the win column with a decision victory over Stephen Thompson ( 16-5 ). Utilizing his grappling skills, Burns made this an ugly fight which benefited him and now has him looking onto bigger challenges. Tai Tuivasa ( 12-3 11KOs ) got his third KO/TKO win in a row when he stopped former NFL star Greg Hardy ( 7-4 ).

The two heavyweights didn’t waste much time as they started letting the fist fly and swung for the fences. With 3 in a row now, Tuivasa is putting himself in prime position for a featured heavyweight showdown in the near future to see if he’s getting closer to a title shot. For Hardy, this is his second defeat in a row, and while some are calling for the UFC to cut ties with the fighter. He is still young in his fight career but shows tremendous promise.

But the UFC is no place to get better at learning how to fight as each fight is another tough putting. Maybe either a step down in competition is needed, or if the UFC does cut ties with him, he can go to another organization and earn his way back. We will see what unfolds for these warriors in the coming weeks/months.


Another good fight card is in the books as the UFC continues to entertain fantastic fight cards one after the other. Whether we are watching champions, former champions, title contenders, or up and comers, the UFC will continue to give us entertaining fight cards to enjoy.



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-Kalani Lua – Franchise Sports Media


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