This past Saturday at UFC 264 we saw the third fight between Conor McGregor (22-6) and Dustin Poirier (28-6, 1 NC). The first round was a back-and-forth round that took place on the mat and on the feet.
The first half of the UFC 264 main event took place on the feet. In the standup, McGregor was getting the better of Dustin Poirier. However, after McGregor went for a guillotine choke, Poirier ended up on top of him in the first.
From there, Poirier did a fantastic job of landing big shots from the top position. At the end of the first, both men got back to their feet and went back to striking. Both swung big shots and missed. When McGregor stepped back, the lower half of his tibia snapped.
McGregor crumbled to the floor and defended as Poirier rained down more shots. Fortunately for McGregor, Herb Dean let the fight go. In between rounds, the fight was stopped due to the injury and UFC 264 leaves us with no clarity in the trilogy.
Some in the MMA Media or the talking heads have painted this narrative that Poirier and McGregor aren’t close to being on the same level. I couldn’t disagree more and after watching the UFC 264 main event back several times, I don’t believe there’s a big gap between the two men at all.
What’s next after UFC 264?
Dana White said that he would be open to the fourth fight between Poirier and McGregor after UFC 264’s result. I think that might be what’s next for McGregor and even Poirier said that they will have to fight again.
That said, we don’t have a great idea on how long it will be before McGregor’s ready. The Irishman posted on Twitter last night that he would be on crutches for six weeks before starting the process of building himself back up.
My guess is that we won’t see McGregor booked for his next UFC matchup until the late spring or early next Summer. With that timeline, it could line up perfectly with Poirier should Poirier defeat Charles Oliveira near the end of the year.
I could also see the UFC giving McGregor a fight with Nate Diaz (20-13) upon his return. McGregor and Diaz have their own trilogy to complete and it would be a great fight to get McGregor back in the swing of things.
That would also allow the promotion to book Justin Gaethje – Michael Chandler as a title eliminator. If McGregor fought Diaz and won in mid-2022, perhaps he could get a shot at the UFC lightweight title and that fourth fight with Poirier late in the year.