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Poirier beats Gaethje by TKO in UFC lightweight fight

Poirier beats Gaethje by TKO in UFC lightweight fight

His victory over "The Highlight" wasn't flawless, as he absorbed a ton of damage in the form of Gaethje's lethal inside leg kicks, a seemingly endless stream of which seemed to find their mark on Poirier's right leg. Top contender Tony Ferguson, whose heartbreaking knee injury six days before UFC 223 pulled him from the fight, appears next for Nurmagomedov unless the champion can secure super fights against McGregor or Georges St-Pierre.

The 29-year-old Gaethje has staged three instant classics in as many walks to the Octagon, but suffered his second straight defeat by knockout in his return to Gila River Arena, where he claimed two state high school wrestling titles over a decade ago.

Gaethje, a modern-day barbarian who is nearly impervious to pain, seemed unfazed by a cut above his left eye in Round 1 and continued to chip away at Poirier's right leg with a steady stream of damaging kicks. "It is the entertainment factor for me", he said.

Who do you think should get the next shot at "The Eagle's" shiny new belt?

Poirier knew his fight with Justin Gaethje would be like this.

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Gaethje's latest setback will leave him just shy of the lightweight title discussion and in an interview given to a media scrum after the fight (via MMAFighting), he made it clear that he can only see himself competing in the sport five more times. "I will be known and remembered as one of the most entertaining fighters that ever did it".

"I fought on short notice and gave a show", Oliveira said through a translator.

Poirier added: "This guy [Gaethje] would have died in here if Herb Dean hadn't stopped it". I felt so comfortable in there and so good, the best I've ever felt.

"I want to fight for gold, man", Poirier told MMAjunkie. With a little over three minutes left, Gaethje stunned Poirier with a punch upstairs, and as the fight went to the fence, Gaethje went on the attack.

Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the main card.