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4 Feb, 2021 10:54

McGregor and Poirier ‘agree’ to another rematch – but is the UFC’s pursuit of big-money bouts undermining the sport?

McGregor and Poirier ‘agree’ to another rematch – but is the UFC’s pursuit of big-money bouts undermining the sport?

Days after Dustin Poirier defeated Conor McGregor both fighters have verbally agreed to do it all over again, this time maybe with a world title on the line - and the rest of the division will just have to sit back and watch.

It is usually tricky to arrange a rematch to a fight which ended as definitively as last month's UFC 257 headliner. Harnessing six years of vengeful thoughts since he was knocked out by the brash Dubliner in Las Vegas, Dustin Poirier returned the favor when he pounded Conor McGregor out in the second round, placing himself in pole position to be the man who follows the reign of the retired Khabib Nurmagomedov as the UFC's lightweight champion.

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That belt, though, still rests around the Russian's waist. UFC boss Dana White had glimmering, faint hopes of arranging a sequel to McGregor and Nurmagomedov's blood-feud which stands alone as the biggest pay-per-view success in the company's history.

Now though, as White comes to terms that Nurmagomedov's retirement is in fact legitimate and McGregor licks his wounds from being finished for the second time in three fights, the UFC look set to change course for what would likely be the next most high-profile fight they can arrange: Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier III, something which was stoked by both men on social media late Wednesday night.

Writing an in-depth analysis of his performance against Poirier alongside some highlights from the fight, McGregor said on Instagram that he was proud of the work he put in in preparation for the fight but that he was undone by the effect of the American's kicks.

"It was the first time I did not use/nor need the stool between rounds also. I did need the stool after tho that’s for sure," McGregor wrote in part.

"I am extremely happy I did not need to use the stool between rounds here anyway. Another first for me! I am most certainly on the right path. Despite the loss I am on the correct path of evolution.

"A little single disciplined in my approach and stance with mostly boxing. It’s what I get for picking this bout and opponent as a precursor to a boxing match against Pacman. I deserved to get the legs kicked off me going in with this thinking.

"Not a trilogy I was expecting, nor the tactical affair I was anticipating, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t meant to be. This is exactly how this was always meant to be! Buzzing!!"

Poirier, meanwhile, wrote in response that he was more than open to a third fight. 

However, this type of social media fight booking that McGregor and Poirier are engaged in here could just serve to inject even more uncertainty in a 155lbs division whose king is currently in exile.

White was nakedly brazen in his desire to coax Nurmagomedov out of retirement but with those plans seemingly dead in the water, the next best thing - from a financial standpoint at least - is likely a third fight between McGregor and the man who knocked him out last month, and to hell with the rest of the fighters jockeying for position in the lightweight rankings. 

And Justin Gaethje, one of those men hoping to come out on top when the dust settles in the division, says the root of the impasse at 155lbs is squarely down to Dana White and his apparent preference to some fighters over others. 

"The reason why this is happening with Poirier is because Dana White literally used, he tried to, he did, he f*cked Tony (Ferguson) and Dustin," Gaethje told MMA Junkie after Poirier refused to fight White's preference, Michael Chandler, for the vacant lightweight title, saying that White's negotiation tactics for a failed Poirier-Ferguson bout last year left a bad taste in the mouth.

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"He said f*ck you guys, I’m going to take Chandler, and he’s going to be the backup for this title fight. That all happened three or four months ago. We are human, we have principles, we have morals, and that’s what that is. That’s why Dustin Poirier is saying (he won’t fight Chandler). Well, I would assume. I don’t talk to the guy.

"When Dana White did that, he didn’t just sh*t on Dustin Poirier, he didn’t just sh*t on Tony Ferguson. He sh*t on every single f*cking fighter that does it right, that wants to do it right and wants integrity to the sport, and that’s why Dustin Poirier is talking like he is."