Conor McGregor was left beaten and with a broken leg after a wild one-round war with Dustin Poirier ended in a first-round stoppage at UFC 264 in Las Vegas. The bout was all set to complete the octagon trilogy between the two lightweight rivals, but the nature of Poirier’s win has left the door open for the possibility of a fourth fight between the pair.
McGregor suffered against Poirier in the second bout between the two at UFC 257 in January, with the American hammering the Irishman’s legs with a heavy leg-kick attack.
And the Dubliner looked to return the favour in the third meeting as he opened up with spinning back kicks, before turning his attention to Poirier’s legs.
But “The Diamond” checked some of McGregor’s kicks and stayed largely out of trouble before unleashing a flurry of fists that forced McGregor onto the back foot.
The action continued, as Poirier took control of the matchup, taking McGregor to the mat and hammering him with powerful punches and elbows.
But, when the action returned to the feet, things went from bad to worse for “The Notorious.”
Both men attempted to land big punches and, although both missed, McGregor was caught off balance and stumbled backward.
In doing so, he rolled his ankle, which instantly appeared to snap, sending him down to the canvas.
In the heat of the moment, neither Poirier nor referee Herb Dean noticed the incident and Poirier pounced on the grounded McGregor in an attempt to finish the fight in the closing seconds of the round.
The buzzer saved McGregor from a first-round TKO at the hands of Poirier, but as the American turned and headed back to his corner, it quickly became clear that McGregor had suffered a serious injury, with cameras zooming in on his broken ankle.
Replays then confirmed what happened, as the 20,000 fans in attendance gasped at the footage shown on the big screens.
An irate McGregor could be heard shouting to octagon announcer Bruce Buffer that it should be ruled a doctor’s stoppage, rather than a standard TKO.
The injury puts McGregor’s immediate fighting future in question, with the Irishman set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines to fully heal from his injuries.
McGregor’s defeat and injury drew comment from the Irishman’s former nemesis, retired former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who tweeted, “Good always defeats evil. Very happy for @DustinPoirier I hope you will get the belt end of the year.”
YouTuber-turned-fighter Logan Paul was in attendance at the event, and he shared his thoughts on the wild scenes he had just witnessed.
“Damn. crazy to see a star with such a meteoric rise literally plummet into the ground just a few years later,” he tweeted.
“It’s sad tbh. RIP Conor McGregor’s career.”