Sport Conor McGregor knocked out by Dustin Poirier in second round at UFC 257

Conor McGregor knocked out by Dustin Poirier in second round at UFC 257

Dustin Poirier receives the congratulations of Conor McGregor after his decisive win on Sunday. Photo: Twitter/UFC
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Dustin Poirier has stopped Conor McGregor with a flurry of punches midway through the second round of their UFC 257 bout in Abu Dhabi, avenging his 2014 loss to the Irish superstar.

Poirier caught McGregor with a series of shots to the head, before buckling his knees with two left hands.

The American then sent McGregor to the canvas with a short right hand and finished the bout swiftly, causing stunned excitement among the few thousand screaming fans allowed to attend the bout.

“I think this is a title fight,” Poirier said of their lightweight bout.

“I’m the champion.”

In his first fight in a year, McGregor had a strong first round before he was stopped by punches for the first time in his mixed martial arts career.

McGregor, whose previous four losses all came by submission, stayed on the canvas for several moments afterward, gathering himself after his second loss in three fights since 2016.

“It’s hard to overcome inactivity over long periods of time,” said McGregor, who had not fought since beating Donald Cerrone last January.

“I just wasn’t as comfortable as I needed to be, but Dustin is some fighter. If you put in the time, you’re going to get cosy in here.

“I have to dust it off and come back, and that’s what I will do … I’ll take my licks, but I’m gutted.”

McGregor and Poirier met for the first time in September 2014 as featherweights, and McGregor won by knockout in just 106 seconds during his incredible early-career success.

He became the featherweight champion 15 months later, while Poirier rebuilt his career with just one loss in his next 11 fights.

With a second chance to derail McGregor while boosting his own hopes of regaining the lightweight title, Poirier did not miss.

Sporting a shaved head and a beard, McGregor pushed the action early against Poirier, who landed an early takedown before getting backed against the cage for stretches of the first round.

In the second, Poirier bothered McGregor with leg kicks before throwing the punches that ended the bout.

“We’re 1-1, so maybe we have to do it again,” Poirier said.

In the co-main event at UFC 257, three-time Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler made a stunning UFC debut with a knockout of New Zealand’s Dan Hooker midway through the first round.

Chandler could be the next match-up for Poirier in a fight for the lightweight title apparently vacated by Khabib Nurmagomedov, who announced his retirement after his final victory.