American mixed martial arts fighter Dustin Poirier defeated Conor McGregor early Sunday in a much-anticipated Ultimate Fighting Championship re-match that left McGregor down for the count in the second round.
“I just wasn’t as comfortable as I needed to be. It’s the inactivity,” McGregor, of Ireland, said in an interview posted on Twitter following the fight.
But he vowed to continue fighting this year.
“I have to dust it off and come back and that’s it. And that’s what I will do.”
He added he was “gutted” about the loss.
“I put in a lot of work, I’m proud of my work, I would have liked to represent my team a bit better.”
Following his win, Poirier said in an interview on Twitter he felt like he was “boxing pretty well” against McGregor.
“I’m here to win,” he added.
Ahead of the fight, many social media users reported outages with the ESPN+ UFC 257 pay-per-view event, with NFL superstar JJ Watt tweeting, “I would like my $70 back.”
“I am genuinely concerned for people not being able to watch the fights,” UFC fighter Julia Avila wrote on Twitter. “I actually FaceTimed some friends for a little.”
The stunning defeat came after McGregor spent more than a year away from the UFC. He called that time a “wild ride.”
“I’m very excited to be back here,” he said during a pre-fight press conference on Thursday. “I’m very excited to have fans in here. I feel invigorated.”
The bad news for Conor McGregor fans is that he was knocked out by Dustin Poirier in the second round of their UFC 257 main event in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, early Sunday morning.
The good news for fans of the Irish superstar? Their man immediately recognized he had not been at his best in this fight, understood why and had a plan for making himself better the only way he knows how: by fighting more often.
“It’s hard to overcome inactivity over a long period of time,” McGregor said after just his third MMA fight since 2016. “I just wasn’t as comfortable as I needed to be, you know what I mean? It’s inactivity, and that’s it.”
Defeat did snuff out McGregor’s hopes of an immediate shot at regaining the lightweight championship belt he once owned. But what would have otherwise been a golden road up the mountain now could go a number of directions, all of them potentially fulfilling.
Even after a decisive defeat, McGregor is enough of an asset that the UFC will be looking for ways to inject him right back into the mix of contenders in the UFC’s stacked lightweight division. But will McGregor view that as his best path forward?