Sometimes losing is the only way to win, and UFC lightweight contender Dustin Poirier knows all about that. The 31-year-old American recently revealed to ESPN that losing via first-round knockout to Conor McGregor back in 2014 helped “The Diamond” make important changes to his life that ultimately helped him become a better fighter.
“It definitely started happening after the Conor McGregor loss,” Poirier said. “That was the start of it. It’s been a long process, being a father, losing again, winning some and losing again, and winning another one. It’s just a long evolution of stop-caring-so-much. You just stop caring about the noise and stuff that doesn’t matter. . .”
McGregor responded to his former rival’s claim with one word about the matter.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) July 2, 2020
You can watch McGregor vs. Poirier from 2014 below.
— Abdulrhman (@itsAbduIrhman) June 28, 2020
Poirier Just Won Fight of the Year Candidate
Poirier defeated Dan Hooker over the weekend in one of the best action fights in recent memory. While both 155-pound contenders appeared to bring their A-games into the cage that night at UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Poirier rallied down the stretch to take home the unanimous decision victory.
Poirier credited his new mindset for helping him have the ability to perform so well in big moments like that and said that it was something he had to learn the hard way after suffering setbacks such as the McGregor knockout.
“A lot of times in my younger career, I felt like it was life or death,” Poirier said. “Every comment on Instagram and Twitter, every journalist who said something, I felt like everybody was against me. I felt like if I lost I would be written off, it’s the end of my career. I’m a bum if I lose this fight.”
So only suffering losses could ultimately change what was inside Poirier’s head. In that way, losing to McGregor became a type of winning because it prompted the changes that would pay huge dividends for the fighter down the line.
It Took More Than One Loss for Poirier to Change
Since losing to McGregor, Poirier has suffered two more losses, to Michael Johnson in 2016 and Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2019.
Those losses seemed to have helped Poirier, too.
“And then you lose a few times and you’re like, ‘Oh sh*t, I can still put this back together,” Poirier said. “Oh man, I’m still providing for my family. I’m still loving what I do. It’s like you’ve been bent but not broken a lot of times and I feel like it made me stronger and it made me the man I am today.”
Poirier Remains Among Top Contenders at 155 Pounds
Poirier’s stunning win on June 27 over Hooker solidified the fighter’s standing among the top 155-pound fighters in the sport.
While Poirier already lost via third-round submission to UFC lightweight champion Nurmagomedov last year at UFC 242, there’s no doubt that behind current interim champ Justin Gaethje (who Poirier already defeated back in 2018) he’s the only contender 155 that stands out as the most deserved of another title opportunity.
In fact, Poirier’s resume is so good that he’s suddenly emerged as a possibility to face McGregor again in a rematch assuming the Irishman heads back into the Octagon again as most pundits expect.
That would give Poirier the chance to come full circle on his loss to McGregor six years ago. Not only could he have applied the lessons he learned from that loss in other future fights, but maybe all those things would carry over now to help him notch the revenge win over the biggest star in the sport.
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