- Dustin Poirier hinted that he knew he had the beating of Conor McGregor early in Saturday’s showdown.
- The American knocked the Irishman out in the second round after attacking his legs earlier in the bout.
- He told reporters at a post-event press conference the calf kicks were a premeditated strategy.
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FIGHT ISLAND — Dustin Poirier knew Conor McGregor was in a “bad position early” in Saturday’s fight because he’s well aware of how painful calf kicks are to be on the end of.
The No.2-ranked lightweight heading into UFC 257, Poirier knocked McGregor out cold on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi after unrelenting attacks on his legs preceded strikes to the head.
Early in the second round, Poirier shellacked McGregor against the fence, beat him to the floor, and forced a stoppage as the Irishman lay on the canvas with blood pouring from his nose.
It took McGregor minutes to recover and even when he did, he walked out of the arena with a severe limp.
At the post-event press conference Insider attended, Poirier told reporters that his coach Mike Brown had drilled into him the importance of leg kicks in the match with McGregor.
“We compromised his leg and he was in a bad position early just from the repeated leg kicks,” said Poirier.
Poirier hinted that once the calf kick caught him clean, McGregor began checking the shot.
But, regardless, the defensive maneuvering was inefficient and he could tell that he was causing McGregor considerable damage. “After the second kick, I knew he was hurting.”
McGregor called the defeat “heartbreaking” and said his leg was “completely dead [and] badly compromised.”
Said Poirier: “I just know from experience how bad those things hurt. And I knew it was a five-round fight so it would only get worse.”
It is unclear where Poirier goes from here. After back-to-back victories over Dan Hooker and McGregor, he has done enough to warrant another shot at the UFC lightweight championship.
However, a trilogy bout involving McGregor, with or without a title on the line, could also materialize.
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