Long before he was stretchered out of UFC 264, many pundits had wondered if this fight would prove the end of Conor McGregor.
The ‘Notorious’ One has been on a downhill slide since the mega-money boxing matchup with Floyd Mayweather in 2017. He lost that match but made serious bank, taking home more than $100 million from one fight. But while he may be richer than any other fighter on the UFC roster, his time away from Octagon came at a cost.
Since the Mayweather fight, McGregor’s UFC record has taken a hammering, with only one win from four outings. In 2018 he fell to rival Khabib Nurgameddov before bouncing back in 2020 to topple Donald’ Cowboy’ Cerrone.
But in 2021, he has fought and lost twice to Dustin’ Diamond’ Poirier, with yesterday’s gruesome TKO leading many to question if this might – finally – spell the end of Conor McGregor?
The End of Conor McGregor?
Yesterday’s trilogy fight with Dustin Poirer came to an anti-climactic end as a freak injury ended McGregor’s night at UFC 264 in Las Vegas. McGregor’s left foot went from under him at the end of the first round, with his ankle seemingly snapping in two.
Conor McGregor hit the deck in pain, pleading with referee Herb Dean that he had “broken his ankle.” At the end of the round, the UFC doctors tended to the wounded fighter before promptly calling off the fight and handing Poirier the win via Doctor’s Stoppage.
Conor cut a solitary and sad figure on the mat, unable to stand, but the fiery Irishman continued to taunt his opponent despite his situation. “This is not over,” McGregor screamed from the ground as Poirier, who now leads their head-to-head 2-1, walked out of the cage the winner due to a doctor’s stoppage after the first round.
“Your wife is in my DMs,” claimed Conor, before Poirier hit back with “shut your b**** a** up.”
What happens now?
While the trilogy is technically sorted, with Poirier having won two of their three fights, McGregor was determined that this bout won’t count – and it seems UFC President Dana White agrees.
“It sucks; it’s brutal,” White said following the stoppage. It’s not the way you want to see fights end. “Dustin Poirier will fight for the title, and when Conor’s healed and ready to go, you do the rematch, I guess. I don’t know.”
However, it didn’t take long for the UFC world to turn their attention to the elephant in the room: was this the end of Conor McGregor?
The long road back
At 32-years-old he is still arguably in his prime, though the extent of the injury could put the Irishman out for at least a year. He had surgery overnight to repair the damage, but the road back will be arduous with plenty of rehab. But even before his unlucky performance in the Octagon, Conor’s increasingly erratic behaviour had many concerned for his future.
The brash talk has been replaced by trash talk, the fearless confidence seemingly replaced by nervous desperation. In the lead up to UFC 264, he had reverted to the Conor of old: lazy taunts that seemed born out of frustration.
For those in the know, these were worrying signs, classic hallmarks of a fighter who is past their prime. And their concerns were validated when the former two-time World Champion was stretchered out of the arena last night. Conor McGregor’s night was over, but perhaps so too was his time in the spotlight.