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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Conor McGregor after TKO loss at UFC 257?

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UFC 257: Poirier v McGregor Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC 257 blew the roof off Etihad Arena last Saturday (Jan. 23, 2021) on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Dan Hooker, who was knocked out by Michael Chandler in the first round (recap here).

And Amanda Ribas, who was flattened by Marina Rodriguez, putting an end to her undefeated run inside the Octagon at 4-0 (see it again here). But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the event?

Conor McGregor.

Coming into his rematch against Dustin Poirier, “Notorious” had built-in confidence since he already owned a lightning-quick knockout victory over “The Diamond.” He was also eager to prove that despite his year-long layoff — and not having a win at lightweight since 2016 — he could get the job done once again.

It clearly wasn’t the case.

While the former “champ-champ” looked good early on, he ran into trouble in the second round after Poirier started landing some brutal calf kicks, which McGregor never bothered to check. The damage started to mount rather quickly, completely zapping the strength from his lead leg.

Poirier then started to find his groove in the striking department, tagging McGregor with one stinging shot after another. Once he got comfortable, “The Diamond” never let up and really put it on the box office king before flooring him with a solid right hand. After a couple of follow up shots, Herb Dean had no choice but to put an end to the fight.

The loss brings McGregor to 1-2 in his last three fights. Despite the defeat, it likely won’t do much to put a dent in his appeal and the promotion will still push him with everything it has. He is still the biggest money-making star the game has ever seen and he is still at the top of most fighter’s wish list of desired match ups.

“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,” wrote McGregor on Instagram. “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.”

McGregor won’t have a shortage of options for his next fight since he can fight at featherweight, lightweight and welterweight. For my money, the only fight that makes sense for McGregor is a trilogy bout against Nate Diaz.

The series is tied at one a piece so they know each other very well. The bout sells itself, though both trash-talking experts will more than do their part to hype up the contest.

Sure, Diaz is already looking forward to a fight against Poirier, which is laughable to say the least because “The Diamond” is in line for a title shot and Nate hasn’t won a fight since Aug. 2019. Diaz has no business near Poirier, so he can forget about that for now.

Any objections?