Conor McGregor's career is hanging by a thread after he was finished by rival Dustin Poirier in a clinical second round TKO.

Conor was back in the Octagon for the first time in more than a year hoping to stop Poirier and lock-up a lightweight title showdown with retired champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Instead it was Poirier who treated McGregor like a speed bump on his way to a certain title fight against either Nurmagomedov, Michael Chandler or Justin Gaethje.

There was drama on the undercard before former Bellator champion Chandler stole the show with a first round KO of Kiwi Dan Hooker to press his claim for a lightweight championship fight.

But that was nothing compared to the fireworks that exploded in the main event. 

McGregor's front leg took a battering in the second round and it eventually cost him when he was forced to compensate for the pain. It opened up an avenue for Poirier to land shots from long range and the fight was turned on its head when a left hand hurt McGregor. 

McGregor tried to dance his way out of trouble, but with Poirier having time to pick and choose his shots, it was a slow, painful demise for McGregor.

Watch Poirier v McGregor at UFC 257 live on Main Event on Foxtel and Kayo. Sunday 24 January at 2pm AEDT. ORDER NOW >

It was a right hand that McGregor leaned into that eventually broke the former dual-division champion, who fell backwards before the fight was stopped. 

The defeat leaves the lightweight division in a complete mess and leaves McGregor's career at the crossroads again. 

McGregor said after the fight he will fight again in the Octagon this year - but a title shot suddenly seems a long way away. 

McGregor said after the fight it was his lack of time in the Octagon - just one fight since October, 2018 - that left him rusty and ripe for an upset. 

"The leg was dead. I just wasn't as comfortable as I needed to be. It's the inactivity," he said.

"If you put in the time in here, you feel cosy in here, and that's it. I have to dust this one off and come back and that's what I'm going to do.

"You don't get away with being inactive in this business.

"It's a tough one to swallow."

Conor McGregor was down. Photo: Kayo, UFC
Conor McGregor was down. Photo: Kayo, UFC

UFC legend Daniel Cormier said after the fight he was shaking after seeing the monster upset unfold.

"One of the biggest wins in UFC history," he said. 

"Oh my goodness."

Poirier said after the fight he would even be prepared to stage a trilogy fight against McGregor after getting his revenge from their 2014 fight. He declared he is the new lightweight champion, while the division continues to be held to ransom by the retirement of Nurmagomedov.

Earlier, Makhmud Muradov left UFC legend Daniel Cormier howling in commentary after a brutal TKO finish of Andrew Sanchez, while referee Herb Dean came under fire for a sloppy stoppage backflip which left Marina Rodriguez needing to TKO opponent Amanda Ribas twice.

Originally published as Conor destroyed in UFC bombshell

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