Conor McGregor fights are always eventful for one reason or another but his last fight against Dustin Poirier was something else entirely. We look back on the event, the fallout from it and what could be next for the Irishman.
Conor McGregor’s Next Fight, Everything We Know So Far
Conor McGregor’s Last Fight: McGregor Vs. Poirier At UFC 264
If you saw the fight, you know that it ended horrifically, with Conor breaking his tibia in an incident that brought people flashbacks to Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman’s similar injuries. We now know that Conor came into the fight with stress fractures which were then worsened by Poirier’s checks of his leg kicks and his kick at Poirier’s elbow.
In terms of the event, it did very well. It was the second highest-selling MMA pay-per-view of all time, second only to UFC 229 when Conor fought Khabib. It earned around $15.7 million in sales and the Vegas crowd was 20,062 strong.
How Conor McGregor Approached The Fight
The story of the first rematch was that Conor McGregor came in only worrying about boxing because his large plans included a fight with Manny Pacquiao next. For this reason, the wrestling and leg kicks caught him off guard and were a big part of why he got finished. In his own words, “a little single disciplined in my approach and stance with mostly boxing.” However, framing things this way, even if it’s true, was never fair to Dustin Poirier. That’s why it was so great that we got the trilogy fight, so everything could be settled. Of course, the result wasn’t as final as we’d hoped.
Most avid fans were not fooled by Conor’s “shooting ass shelling ass bitch,” and “little bitch kicks from a shell” comments from Twitter a few months ago. It was important to remember that coming into his rematch with Nate Diaz, leg kicks were a big part of his game. Through all of his vintage trash talk, even though it didn’t always seem like it, Conor McGregor undoubtedly respects all aspects of mixed martial arts and used every tool in his arsenal to try to get the win at UFC 264.
In terms of his own offense, McGregor did have success with boxing very early on in the fight. Despite the result, his timing and accuracy are still some of the best we’ve ever seen in the sport. A change that some predicted Conor could make for this third fight was making kicks a bigger part of his attack, and although we acknowledged that his gas tank likely couldn’t support a kick-heavy attack for anything close to 25 minutes, that’s exactly what he did. Just like he did back at featherweight, he came out throwing a variety of kicks.
He also went all the way in on a guillotine, which was a surprise to those that followed his interview before the fight because he dismissed submission wins entirely. It was also puzzling that he’d commit to something with such a high risk against Poirier, who is more experienced in Jiu-Jitsu than him.
How Much Conor McGregor Got Paid
Before the fight, it was tough to say how much Conor would be paid, but we could make an educated guess based on his past purses. For his last few fights before the second Poirier fight, Conor was getting a base pay of $3 million, but for the rematch at UFC 257, he was guaranteed $5 million. It was safe to assume that the Irishman would make either the same or slightly less for the trilogy bout, considering he was coming in off a loss.
Now that the event is over and we have some purse numbers, we can see that Conor was still guaranteed $5 million for the fight.
How Long Will Conor McGregor Need To Recover From His Injury?
Conor McGregor will be on crutches for the next six weeks, as he announced on his Instagram right after surgery. However, the injury isn’t as simple as Conor getting off crutches and getting right back to training. He will have to spend months simply relearning how to walk and move properly with the new titanium rod in his leg. The truth is that it’s likely that his leg will never be the same. But if all goes well, we could see him healthy enough to be back in the octagon for very late this year or early 2022.
What’s Next For Conor McGregor?
Past recovery and rehabilitation for his injury, it’s really tough to say what the future looks like for Conor McGregor. Predicting his future opponents is one thing (and we do that later in the article), but it’s almost up in the air how he’ll look in a cage.
Conor’s coach John Kavanagh did an interview with Laura Sanko the day after the fight, and he was optimistic about things, even commenting that Conor looked great in the fight up until the injury, but that felt a little delusional to most. Conor had some success with some big kicks, but he ended up engaging in the grappling when Dustin found some boxing success of his own. On his back, despite his elbows, Dustin mostly worked him in a way that could have brought Conor flashbacks of the Khabib fight.
The truth about Conor is that it’s still really tough to gauge where he is as a fighter relative to his peers. He’s absolutely lost four of his last seven in MMA, which would suggest a fall since his featherweight run where he went undefeated, but a deeper dive into those losses does Conor favors. One of the four is to Nate, who he’s since beaten; one is to Khabib, the best grappler in the sport, and the other two are both to Dustin, arguably the best lightweight on the planet. Conor’s fans will call him the best, and his haters will call him the worst when of course, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
To get a real sense of where Conor is and answer the questions about whether the game has passed him, he needs a bigger sample size of opponents. This brings us to his next fight.
Potential Match-Up #1: Dustin Poirier
Two fighters rarely fight each other four times, but it does happen. By the end of their careers, it looks like Conor and Dustin could step into the cage against each other one more time, and that just might be what’s next for Conor. The argument would be that they were one apiece and that though Dustin technically won the trilogy bout via doctor stoppage, it was inconclusive. It must be said that another fighter wouldn’t be afforded such a luxury, but Conor isn’t just any old fighter.
As much as a fourth fight could excite fans, we’re not sure that would be great for Conor. Notoriously (no pun intended), MMA doesn’t do tune-up fights in the way that boxing fights, but it’s probably best that Conor gets a fight against someone lower down the food chain before he goes for Dustin again. One, because adjusting to the injury could take some time. Two, because Dustin could be champion by then, and Conor would have to win at least one fight to challenge for the title.
Potential Match-Up #2: Rafael dos Anjos
Rafael dos Anjos, or RDA as most call him, is not a name known to most casual fans, but that doesn’t mean he’s not an incredible fighter. He’s the former lightweight champion, and if his name does ring a bell, it’s likely because RDA is who Conor McGregor was scheduled to fight at UFC 196 after he knocked out José Aldo. RDA broke his foot and ended up pulling out, forcing Conor to take on Nate Diaz.
So why does the fight make sense now, you ask. RDA was actually the backup fighter for UFC 264, which means that he made weight at the same time as all of the other fighters on the card just in case something happened to either man in the main event. It gives the UFC a fight to fall back on in a bad scenario, and even if nothing happens, it puts some money in the backup fighter’s pockets and puts them in good stead with the company.
Backstage at the weigh-ins, Conor and RDA exchanged some words which had fans excited about a future match-up between them. Now is the most sense it’s made in a while to make that fight, with the two close to each other in the rankings and already have a history together.
Stylistically, it’s a tough match-up for Conor. Just like Dustin, dos Anjos is a southpaw with good boxing, wrestling, and leg kicks. Though RDA has racked up a few losses in the last few years, his strength of resumé is incredibly high. He’s arguably had the toughest schedule in the entire sport for a few years now, with fights booked against Khabib Nurmagomedov, Kamaru Usman, Tony Ferguson, Colby Covington, and Eddie Alvarez, all before they went on to become champions or interim champions. Most of them beat him with wrestling, which Conor would not do, but with years of tough fights behind him, RDA is also a winnable fight for Conor at this stage.
Potential Match-Up #3: Nate Diaz
Last but not least is a man that all Conor fans and MMA fans are familiar with. None other than Nathan Diaz.
This is a fight that Dana has even acknowledged the UFC could go back to at any point in time, but with the two both coming off of a pair of losses, it makes perfect sense right now. It’s a massive trilogy fight for the UFC to sell, and it’s winnable for both men. For Conor specifically, the sense of danger is there to spectators because we’ve all seen what Nate can do to Conor, so a win here gives him some momentum moving forward.
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