Conor McGregor’s aura took a hit in the UFC 257 main event on Saturday night.
The Irish superstar succumbed to strikes for the first time in 27 professional outings, falling to Dustin Poirier via second-round technical knockout at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. After the event’s conclusion, Khabib Nurmagomedov offered a reaction to McGregor’s performance from his Twitter account.
“This is what happened, when you change your team, leave the sparring partners who made you a champion and sparring with little kids, far away from reality,” Nurmagomedov wrote.
This is what happened, when you change your team, leave the sparring partners who made you a champion and sparring with little kids, far away from reality.— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) January 24, 2021
Had McGregor emerged victorious at UFC 257, the promotion still had hopes that it could convince Nurmagomedov to return for one final bout against the “Notorious” one. Their first meeting at UFC 229, which Nurmagomedov won via fourth-round submission, was the organization’s highest selling pay-per-view of all-time.
While McGregor has taken his share of shots at Nurmagomedov in the past, he wasn’t pleased to learn of the lightweight king’s remarks at Saturday’s post-fight press conference.
“My team has been the team since Day 1. I’ve not changed anything. It is what it is. Respect the athletes,” McGregor said. “And that’s the character of the man for sure, behind the mask. Whatever, what’s he want to do? Does he want to come back or no?”
McGregor wilted thanks to Poirier’s blend of calf kicks and heavy hands, and he admitted “The Diamond” was a different man than the one he defeated at UFC 178 more than six years ago. While he credited Poirier, he doesn’t believe Nurmagomedov earned the right to offer commentary unless he plans on fighting again.
“Styles make fights. Every fight is a different fight. That’s what all this prestige and all that people try to hold on to, I don’t hold on to that,” McGregor said. “But if someone has multiple wins or multiple losses, you know what I mean? Every fight between every man is different, and that’s it. Dustin’s style played into that today. He has the durability, he has experience and he has that leg kick now in his arsenal. I’ll adjust and keep going.
“But if he wants to have his disrespectful comments, come back and let’s go again, my man. I’m here for it. That’s fighting talk. If you’re coming back, come back. You try and do it. That’s that.”