Things were not looking good for Dustin Poirier during the opening minutes of his rematch with Conor McGregor at UFC 257. McGregor was landing clean hard shots on Poirier, who had a frustrated look on his face through the majority of the first round. But a steady stream of hard calf kicks slowed McGregor down and in the second round Poirier found his range both defensively and offensively.
2:34 into the second round, and Poirier stood victorious over a dazed McGregor (watch the highlights here). And while he certainly seemed happy with his victory, the overall process of earning this win definitely took its toll on the Louisiana fighter mentally.
“I’m not fighting any more,” a hot mic in the cage picked up Poirier telling his corner. “I’m not in love with it any more. I’m done with it.”
During the post-fight press conference, “The Diamond” was asked about those words.
“It’s hard to say, but that’s it exactly, I don’t really like this any more,” he said before pushing back on any fear that he might actually be retiring. “I dunno. I’m not .... dude, I got so many ass whoopings left to hand out. I feel like I’m just hitting my prime and just putting everything together. My body and my mind are finally on the same wavelength and I just turned 32 this week. We’ll see what happens. I don’t know. The only part I liked was the fight this whole last two weeks. Didn’t enjoy the process these last two weeks. I only liked the fighting.”
“I think part of it might be from f**king spinning my wheels for two weeks sitting in a hotel room,” he added. “You call this Fight Island but this is Fight Hotel. We couldn’t leave the property. I’m sitting for two weeks cutting weight. The furthest I can go is the workout room. It’s like I was in a prison of my own mind over here.”
“I’m going home to be with my family. Going back to being dad. Going to sell hot sauce. Going to work with my foundation. I got so many things happening outside of fighting right now, this is just something I do.”
As far as the fight with McGregor went, Poirier told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that the calf kicks were part of an overall strategy of mixing up wrestling with striking and kicks to keep McGregor from getting his offense going.
“Mike Brown wanted me to rip calf kicks, Rip ‘em rip ‘em rip ‘em,” Poirier said. “And we did. The first one I threw landed. I’ve been kicking long enough and when you land with the top of your shin, the thick part of your shin, right under your knee, and you turn it the right way it’s so heavy and it hurts so bad. Especially on the calf. And the first one I landed, I knew I had him good. “
“I kick hard and Conor’s a wide stance, we thought it’d be hard to check,” he continued. “And I started kicking through his check because he wasn’t checking correctly, it was still the muscle part of his calf. He wasn’t turning his shin all the way outward so it wasn’t shin to shin. Even when he checked, he was getting the bad part of those kicks.
“I know from experience, I’ve been crippled with those from Jim Miller. I’ve been hurt with them a few times. The swelling in your calf, it has nowhere to go. It’s not like the thigh where it can spread out all over. That’s where you get compartment syndrome, the swelling gets stuck in pockets and it’s so painful.”
Get yourself someone that believes in you as much a Justin Poirier's wife believes in him pic.twitter.com/B5T61vM1Go— Jose R. Rosado (@joserosado) January 24, 2021
As for the difference between fighting Conor in 2014 vs. 2021?
“I felt his presence less, his aura less,” Poirier said. “I just saw another fighter tonight. I think the first fight, I was kind of a deer in the headlights, you could say. This time I was just fighting another man. Another man that bleeds just like me. And I knew that.”
The win puts Poirier in the position to fight for the UFC lightweight title again, but there’s one small problem: he seems completely against fighting fellow top contender Michael Chandler, who dusted Dan Hooker in the first round of their UFC 257 co-main fight.
“Respect to Chandler, great win over a guy,” Poirier said. “But to come in and beat a guy that I just beat and get a title shot? I’ve been what is this, 27, 28 fights in the UFC trying everything fighting the toughest of the toughest guys to get my hands on gold. He should fight Charles Oliveira or something. Let Chandler and Charles Oliveira go at it. That doesn’t really interest me at this point. I’m going to go sell hot sauce if that’s the case.”
So what does interest Poirier?
“A rematch with Conor interests me,” he said. “Always wanted to whup Nate Diaz’s ass. That interests me. I’m sure something will make sense but just right now I don’t know. Me and Conor are 1-1. Nate Diaz likes to talk a lot of s**t online. But I just got to go home and we’ll see.”
“I can guarantee I won’t be fighting Michael Chandler. They can do whatever they want with the division, I don’t care. But if something happens that makes sense, we can do it.”