It’s unfortunate when a blockbuster main event fight ends bizarrely, but such was the case for UFC 264. No matter which way you fold it, the result of the trilogy fight between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier was just downright dreadful. An otherwise awesome card with plenty of highly entertaining affairs was capped off with the big main event ending prematurely, and a sour taste in the mouth of fans in its wake.
In the lead-up to this fight, it was clear things aren’t what they once were in terms of McGregors fanfare. McGregor is undeniably a superstar, but the reality is that because of the out-of-the-cage controversies and the controversies within the fight game, McGregor has lost the general populace. It was none more evident than at the press conference during fight week. He drew big numbers, but overall enthusiasm and fanfare have waned, and the act just doesn’t generate the same reaction anymore.
All #UFC264 Results ⤵️:
— UFC News (@UFCNews) July 11, 2021
But how could anyone expect it to be any different? It makes you appreciate how special the days of ConorMania when it felt like the entire country of Ireland would descend upon whatever city the big fight was in. The Floyd Mayweather press tours, which in retrospect, was probably was the absolute pique of his superstardom and intense fanfare. It’s simply impossible to stay that hot for very long, there comes a point where you start to cool off.
But just because the public’s perception of him isn’t what it was, it doesn’t mean that he isn’t fully capable of more greatness. The silk sheets narrative has been prominent in this fight with McGregor and you won’t find much resistance to its validity. How could one possibly maintain the same desire to win after accomplishing everything there is to accomplish, all while becoming a world-famous super star and multi-millionaire in the process.
Can't dim his 𝒮𝐻𝐼𝒩𝐸.
— UFC (@ufc) July 11, 2021
In fairness to Mcgregor, the performance itself was fantastic up until it wasn’t. In the beginning sequence, Mcgregor stepped right into range and fired off a turning side kick pushing Poirier back, followed by another turning sidekick. He then marched forward and unloaded a low leg kick, then a kick to the body, a rear teep, and then zinged the left hand straight down the centerline that stunned Poirier. For a moment, he had the world thinking he could end the fight in an instant. That is of course up until McGregor ate a couple of shots himself, engaged in grappling that lead to a failed guillotine that resulted in him landing him on his back. From there, Poirier landed big damage with punches and elbows and started to take over the fight.
Upon the fight moving back to the feet, the horrific event happened, marking the second time we’ve seen such a gruesome break in the Octagon in the past few months. You never want to see such a terrible thing happen to someone, but when entire world is watching on the biggest stage possible, it makes things that much worse.
"I feel like I'm coming into my own because I care less about all the noise around me surrounding fighting."@DustinPoirier discusses his latest win over Conor McGregor and what he thinks about challenging Charles Oliveira in the near future 🔊⬆️
Final #UFC264 Results ⤵️:
— UFC News (@UFCNews) July 11, 2021
What came in the post-fight interviews only worsened an already terrible situation that ended a huge night in unpleasant fashion. It started with Poirier taunting McGregor as Buffer announced him as the winner, Poirier was yelling at McGregor to “shut his bitch ass up” before Rogan started the interview. He proceeded to talk about elements of trash talk from McGregor that bothered him, and subsequently told everyone that was booing him that they can kiss his “whole a******”.
When Rogan moved over to interview McGregor who was being tended on by the medical staff, the Irishman was overcome with frustration and no doubt, in complete and utter agony. Unfortunately, the interview was worse than Poirier’s, ending with McGregor yelling into the mic that Poirier’s wife was in his DM’s.
You can’t blame Poirier for the things he said, and as bad as the things McGregor said were, the man was 2 minutes removed from breaking his leg. He probably shouldn’t have been interviewed in the first place. It’s hard to fault either party, but whether or not either man’s actions were justified is of minor importance. It’s the ending that fans remember most.
The first meeting between these two brought out the best of McGregor, the second meeting brought out the best in Poirier and the third meeting brought out the worst of them both.