McGregor was knocked out for the first time in his MMA career as Poirier finished ‘Notorious’ with a flurry against the fence in the second round on Saturday, avenging a 2014 featherweight loss to the Irishman.
The rematch on ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi was contested at lightweight and marked McGregor’s first bout in a year, following his 40-second destruction of Donald Cerrone in January 2020.
Poirier’s leg kicks compromised his old rival’s mobility, allowing the American to capitalise and stop McGregor midway through the second frame, and Kavanagh made no excuses following the bout.
Speaking on Instagram on Monday, McGregor’s compatriot said: “Winning is easy, so I’ll talk for a little bit about losing.
“Obviously [on Saturday] we had a big fight, and unfortunately this time we came up short.
“But here’s the secret: You will live with it – and we’re all disappointed, but we’re okay – if you’ve given it your all.
“And in Conor’s case certainly the last six months have been amazing, the discipline and effort that he’s put in. And when you’ve done that, when you’ve really left no stone unturned, you’ve made every training session, you’ve made weight the right way, you’ve made the walk, you competed as hard as you possibly could…
“Well, competition is a coin and it has two sides: winning and losing. Sometimes it’s gonna fall on the losing side. That’s something that you have to get used to. The quicker you get good at failing, the quicker you’re gonna have success … Do not let the fear of failure paralyse you into not even trying. Losing is okay, the saddest thing is not even giving it a go.
“We’ve woken up here this morning – we’re back on the yacht, we’re back in Dubai – and guess what? The sun rose, my family still love me, we all still love Conor … The people who matter to you will only be proud of you, because they’ll know what you did, the effort you put in.
“As someone who’s been part of the losing side many, many times, I will again confirm: It ain’t that bad, it ain’t that bad.
“So we’re gonna pick ourselves up, figure out some of the technical issues that went against us on the night, fix them, get back up on that horse and go again. Win or learn.”
The 32-year-old said after the main event in the Etihad Arena on Yas Island: “Dustin’s some fighter. I have to dust it off and come back. I need activity. You don’t get away with being inactive in this business.
“I’ll take my licks. I’m gutted. It’s a tough one to swallow. I put in a lot of work. I’m gonna get home to my kids and just chill for a bit.”