Dustin Poirier's resurgance in the UFC's lightweight division has hit a road block named Michael Johnson.
Johnson knocked Poirier out with a sublime combination just over 90 seconds into the first round of their main event at last night's UFC event in Hidalgo, Texas and returns to the win column after dropping his last two bouts to Nate Diaz and Beneil Dariush.
The rivalry between Johnson and Poirier's camps (The Blackzillians and American Top Team respectively) had spilled over into the build-up to this fight. In Friday's weigh-in, the two fighters almost came to blows and last night, as doctors tended to the fallen Poirier, Johnson stood above him and taunted his opponent - actions which Johnson apologised unreservedly for during the post-fight show.
I was a cornered man. I was fighting with my back against the wall, and I really needed to get in there and get a dominant victory and I did that. So I’m very happy.
My hat’s off to Dustin. I hope he recovers well. I’m going to go on the air and apologize for my actions afterwards. I just got really emotional throughout the week. I apologize to Dustin.
Poirier, who defeated Donegal's Joe Duffy earlier this year, must now go back to the drawing board after winning four straight and putting himself in title contention. Johnson, meanwhile, is clearly back on track after his recent patchy form and has his eye at the fighters at the top of the division and - of course - Conor McGregor.
I want the best of the best in this division and I want the guys at the top. I want big money right now. Diaz and McGregor made serious dough and I’m trying to put my name on that money and get paid.
Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz getting paid that money and they're out here scrapping and having a sparring match. I come to finish fights. I come for the kill. Pay me, baby, what's up?
Elsewhere on the card, Derek Brunson stopped Uriah Hall inside the first round in the co-main event, while there was also wins for Evan Dunham, Roan Carneiro, Islam Makhachev and Chas Skelly.