Beaten Irishman Conor McGregor has been hit with a six-month medical suspension after suffering a first-ever knockout defeat at the hands of lightweight rival Dustin Poirier in their rematch at UFC 257.
McGregor signaled after his second-round defeat to ‘The Diamond’ in Abu Dhabi that he wanted to run it back with the American in a trilogy, but he could be frustrated by a period on the sidelines after being given a 180-day medical suspension due to a right tibia/fibula injury sustained during the bout.
Poirier finished McGregor with a heavy barrage of shots midway through the second round but McGregor later pointed to the savage calf kicks from his opponent as seriously handicapping him.
The Irishman was seen leaving the Etihad Arena on a crutch and described the damage as feeling like having “an American football under his suit.”
Poirier later detailed the strategy to utilize low kicks, explaining that McGregor’s wide stance and failure to check the blows properly had led to his success.
As is standard, McGregor’s medical suspension does not mean he will be forced to sit out the entire period and could return sooner if cleared by doctors.
Poirier, meanwhile, was given a mandatory seven-day suspension for a rest period.
After McGregor’s loss – which came in his first octagon appearance in 12 months – talk turned to what comes next for the former two-weight champion.
A third fight with Poirier is seen as an option, as is a trilogy with Nate Diaz – McGregor’s dance partner for two classic encounters in 2016.
Responding for calls from the McGregor camp for a trilogy fight with Poirier to be for the 155lbs title, Poirier dismissed the notion, tweeting: “Crown me now.”
The title is currently held by retired Russian star Khabib Nurmagomedov, but now that any notion of ‘The Eagle’ returning to the cage for one final time seems dead and buried, the belt he owns will inevitably be vacated.
McGregor, 32, had hoped that a win against Poirier would propel him towards a rematch with bitter rival Khabib, who had supposedly said that something “spectacular” from his lightweight rivals at UFC 257 could lure him into reversing the retirement announcement he made after submitting Justin Gaethje back last October.
McGregor did not appear to be feeling too many ill-effects of his defeat on Monday, sharing a video of himself operating a toy digger on a beach, vowing to “build it back!”