Dustin Poirier Seeking a Title Shot After Impressive Victory at UFC Glendale
UFC lightweight Dustin Poirier is seeking gold following his fight with Justin Gaethje on Saturday.
Updated: April 15, 2018 • 4:25 PM ET
Dustin Poirier could get a shot at a title in the near future.
On Saturday, two of the best lightweights in the world engaged in an all-out, three-round war and completely erased the negativity that loomed after UFC 223. Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier thrilled fans in attendance in the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., not to mention those watching on their televisions and mobile devices, with a Fight of the Year type fight.
As expected, Gaethje began the fight throwing leg kicks with constant forward movement that forced Poirier to switch stances. Poirier continued eating the leg kicks through the third round, which was Gaethje’s best, but he embraced the damage and continued throwing flurries of counter punches and combinations. The third round ended with a second eye poke from Gaethje, resulting in referee Herb Dean taking away a point.
The fourth round opened the same as the previous three with Gaethje moving forward and pressing the action. But after throwing another leg kick, Poirier timed a perfect counter left hand, landed it cleanly and wobbled Gaethje.
Poirier moved in for the kill and continued to land a whirlwind of punches, forcing Dean to stop the fight at the 33-second mark of the fourth round.
Aside from his no contest against Eddie Alvarez, Poirier has now won seven of his last eight fights. He has cemented his place as a title contender, and it’s hard to argue against him possibly being the next fight for new champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Nurmagomedov is the new champion, but he didn’t defeat the champion for the belt. The UFC stripped Conor McGregor before the assault at UFC 223 and never defended the title. Meanwhile, the UFC also stripped former interim champion Tony Ferguson after he suffered a freak injury, and he’ll be out for an undetermined amount of time following knee surgery.
Poirier confirmed his desire to fight for a title in a post-fight interview.
“I want to fight for gold, man,” Poirier said. “I’m not chasing rematches with Conor, rematches with Eddie, rematches with anybody. That’s not my goal.
“My goal isn’t to get even with these guys. My goal is to prosper and be a world champion and make money and retire and say I did it.”
McGregor knocked out Poirier at featherweight in 2015, and the no contest against Alvarez came at UFC 211 in May 2017. If both fights were to happen again, either would generate incredible interest. But after the way Poirier handled his victory on Saturday, perhaps a title shot is most fitting.
“I just want to go to sleep with that belt around my waist one night and tell my wife I did it,” Poirier said. “Years and years ago, like in 2006, my wife, I didn’t have a car, she would drive me to weigh-ins, we would sleep in broken-down motels and I would fight the next day. Just me and her.
“I just want to say I did it, man.”
With Edson Barboza’s loss to Nurmagomedov in December, the only two fighters in the top 5 of the lightweight division seemingly available to fight for the title are Alvarez and Poirier. Perhaps they should partake in a rematch, while a title shot for either also makes sense. After all, they’re two of the only fighters near the top of the division who haven’t been impacted by injury, missed weight cuts, bus attacks, or any other drama. They’ve just put their heads down, shut their mouths and competed.
Amidst swirling negativity, the universally infamous McGregor bus attack and the mess that is the top of the lightweight division, Poirier has written an inspiring narrative. The 29-year-old is 23-5 with the one no contest, and he has clearly hit his prime.
Saturday’s fight proved that Poirier has the resiliency and durability to endure punishment beyond three rounds. He absorbed countless leg kicks, powerful right hands and two eye pokes, but emerged victorious through it all. His body of work and positive attitude about reaching the pinnacle of the lightweight division should at the very least open discussions about a shot at Nurmagomedov’s title.
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