Is this the end of the line for Conor McGregor?

The elation that a person may have anticipated to see from Dustin Poirier was missing. He’d strike the Mixed Martial Arts lotto by knocking out Conor McGregor on Saturday at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi, however he didn’t look or imitate a person who’d had that one-in-a-billion winning Powerball ticket.

You win the Powerball and you leap and you shout and you cheer and you can’t think your good luck.

Poirier did none of that. It resembled he anticipated to do what he’d done on among the most amazing nights in UFC history.

It was McGregor who was all smiles later, the strut that many enjoy to mimic missing however the smile and the excellent humor still there. McGregor stated he’d be back, sort of blamed the loss on his lack of exercise and stated he’d battle once again this year.

It was difficult to inform if he were major. The smile might simply as quickly have actually been among relief.

Possibly the calf kick and the left and right-hand man that followed it got rid of a huge weight from McGregor’s back.

He’s worth around a quarter of a billion dollars or more, completely due to his capability to beat individuals up while regaling them with one-liners prior to he does it.

He has whatever he might desire in life other than for one really essential thing:

Peace.

He’s pestered all over he goes. There are no fast journeys to the supermarket or a leisurely browse at the most recent chauffeurs in the golf shop. He needs an entourage the size of a governmental Trick Service information to run his errands.

He’s as strong a rival in the sport, however there comes a time in every professional athlete’s life when he understands that, well, things are various.

Perhaps that time has actually come for McGregor.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 23: Conor McGregor of Ireland reacts after his TKO loss to Dustin Poirier in a lightweight fight during the UFC 257 event inside Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 23, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Conor McGregor of Ireland responds after his TKO loss to Dustin Poirier in a light-weight battle throughout the UFC 257 occasion inside Etihad Arena on UFC Battle Island on Jan. 23, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Image by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Poirier had actually silently turned into one of the best fighters on the planet after getting starched by McGregor at UFC 178 on Sept. 27, 2014, in Las Vegas. He lasted 106 seconds that night and was never ever actually in the battle.

The win was a springboard to success for McGregor. He’d go on to win the interim featherweight title 2 battles later on and quickly would end up being the very first dual-weight champ in UFC history.

Losses like that can ravage a young fighter, and Poirier was still simply 25. Self-confidence is so essential for a fighter, and when a fighter loses it, it’s awful. Keep in mind how bad Ronda Rousey protested Amanda Nunes at UFC 207. She’d lost her self-confidence in her previous battle versus Holly Holm, and looked versus Nunes as if she didn’t belong in the exact same cage.

Poirier, however, revealed the willpower that couple of have. He’s gone on among the fantastic stretches in the sport’s history because that loss, going 11-2 with the only losses to light-weight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and, inexplicably, Michael Johnson.

However amongst those 11 wins were success over Dan Hooker, Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez, Max Holloway, Anthony Pettis and, on Saturday, McGregor.

That’s an amazing run through the meat of the UFC’s finest department without a doubt.

Poirier found out how to deal with the pressures and the expectations and he turned himself into a remarkable fighter.

“I’m happy, man,” Poirier stated. “I’m happy in the place I am and like I’ve said over and over, I’m happy with the man I see in the mirror.”

Nobody understands genuinely how McGregor feels. If he selects to continue combating, he might still be an aspect at the greatest level, even if he didn’t look as fast or as explosive as he has so typically in the past.

It’s that speed and surge, along with a genius-level battle IQ, that has actually made him among the very best fighters of this generation.

The fastball existed on Saturday, and he clipped Poirier difficult numerous times. Poirier, however, made it through when he stated McGregor flash-KO’d him with a left hand in the preliminary. It suggested Poirier’s maturity as a fighter even when he stated that McGregor had actually struck him so hard he would’ve completed him had he pushed the action.

To utilize a baseball example, it appears McGregor might have lost a little motion and a number of miles per hour off the fastball, which presses him from elite to simply great.

Does Conor McGregor wish to be simply great? Will he be content understanding his champion days are numbered?

Nobody understands for sure, though it’s extremely not likely he’ll leave right now.

What wouldn’t be unexpected is if he engages old buddy Nate Diaz in a rubber match back at 170 in what he reveals ahead of time would be a retirement battle.

It would be a huge battle economically, and would have a terrific effect on the traditions of both males. It would, in lots of methods, settle the story.

For McGregor, it’s not always completion of the line, however it might be.

He might well be tired of the problem that comes with his superstardom and of bring the sport in his native Ireland, like he has for so long.

His competitive impulses may well bring him back for another — Who wishes to head out being KO’d for the very first time in his Mixed Martial Arts profession? — however plainly, his days are numbered.

The torch has actually been passed to a brand-new generation of fighters.

There have actually been a couple of downs, however many more exciting minutes. If this is it, it’s been one hell of a flight.

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.