Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
Conor McGregor isn't letting his UFC 257 defeat crush his spirit.
The Irish MMA pro, 32, suffered a second-round knockout loss to Dustin Poirier at Fight Island on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Following his defeat, McGregor shared a post on Instagram, saying he was looking forward to redemption in a future match.
"Thanks for the support everyone! Was not my night/morning in there but a great contest to improve on. I'm excited at the blockbuster trilogy I now have on my hands," McGregor said. "Dustin is a hell of a competitor and I look forward to going again. Elevating the leg and the spirit on my way home! God bless us all, happy Sunday ❤️."
During the main event, Poirier dominated McGregor with a TKO in the second round after stunting the former lightweight champion with repeated calf kicks to his right leg. Speaking to reporters after the event, McGregor said the loss was "hard to take."
"It's heartbreaking," McGregor said. "It's hard to take. The highest highs and the lowest lows in this game."
"My leg is completely dead," he added. "Even though I felt like I was checking them, it was just sinking into the muscle in the front of the leg, and it was badly compromised. It was like an American football in my suit at the minute, so it is what it is."
McGregor then said it was a "phenomenal performance by Dustin," and that while his defeat was a "bitter pill to swallow," he would regroup and "adopt a different approach for the trilogy."
"It wasn't my night. It wasn't a great night. Again, no excuses. Hats off," he told reporters. "[I'll] regroup and pick myself up. I look forward to going back now and seeing the kids and just taking the licks."
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Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor
Following the fight, Poirier said "a rematch with Conor interests me."
"I feel like I've done it all, except, I feel like I can't say I walked away, and I'm the champ, you know," he said. "I want to be the champ. When you're the champ, you're the champ forever, and I want to be the champ. But yeah, I've seen the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows in this sport."
"Fighting is just something I do at this point in my career, but I honor this. I don't take this lightly, man," Poirier added. "I really respect the opportunity, and that's why this is so close to my heart."
Meanwhile, UFC President Dana White said that he needs to see McGregor come back stronger from this loss.
"I think it will make him hungrier," White said to reporters. "There's two ways this goes — hungrier or I'm done. He's got the money... It's tough to be a savage when you're living like he lives and has the money that he has."
"On his way up, he was a young hungry kid. He didn't have any money and he wanted nice things. He wanted nice suits, nice cars, nice houses," White added. "He's got everything he ever wanted. So I don't know. It goes this way or that way."
McGregor had previously announced he was retiring in June 2020, before deciding to return to the ring for the UFC 257. The event was a rematch between the two after September 2014 when they fought at UFC 178, which resulted in McGregor forcing a TKO in the first round.