Exclusive – Benoit Saint-Denis Plans to Smash Through Oliveira, Gaethje, and Makhachev After UFC 299 Clash with Dustin Poirier

The 'God of War' will look to jump toward the top of the 155-pound division with a big win at UFC 299

Benoit Saint-Denis
Courtesy of @UFCNews on X

Lightweight standout Benoit Saint-Denis is closing in on the biggest fight of his mixed martial arts career. 

On Saturday, March 9, the ‘God of War’ will make his seventh walk to the Octagon for a showdown with 155-pound staple and former interim titleholder Dustin Poirier. Speaking with Mike Owens in a MiddleEasy exclusive interview, Saint-Denis knew he would see a big step up in competition for his next fight and he couldn’t be happier for the opportunity to prove himself against a true icon of the division. 

“To be honest I was expecting a tough fight, a tough opponent, and a tough contender,” Saint-Denis said. “I was filled with joy with having Dustin Poirier across the Octagon against me for my next fight. He’s a tough guy. He has a big career. It’s an opportunity to get one more win and go as near as I can get to the belt as fast as I can.

“And it’s one of the toughest divisions out there because, with five finishes in a row, you can only expect to be facing those kinds of guys. In the lightweight division, you are never sure of anything. I’m pretty happy.”

Two months after Benoit Saint-Denis made his professional mixed martial arts debut in 2019, Dustin Poirier competed in his 30th career fight. Asked if he had followed Poirier’s career while kickstarting his own, Saint-Denis admitted that he had not paid much attention to anyone else until signing his own UFC contract. 

“I started MMA with passion and I didn’t follow anybody before going into the UFC and being sure I was on the lightweight roster,” Saint-Denis said. “Then I started watching the whole division and, of course, he is a guy I’ve been watching for a couple of fights. I watched the Khabib [Nurmagomedov] fight live and I watched a couple at brunch on Sunday.

“He’s a tough guy. He’s well-rounded. Of course, I’m the new guy. I’m the fresh guy and he has all that experience with him, but I’m not coming from nowhere. In 2019, I had already five years of experience a special operator for the Special Air Service. I also had my life before being a fighter in gloves.”

After taking care of a bit of business against Dustin Poirier, Benoit Saint-Denis has some big plans for the rest of the lightweight elite. 

“I want to submit [Charles] Oliveira, I want to knock out Justin Gaethje, and I want to win a tactical fight against Islam Makhachev. I want to be in the best shape and as dangerous as possible in every aspect of the fight and win those fights.”

Benoit Saint-Denis Isn’t Concerning Himself with What’s at Stake Against Dustin Poirier

Saint-Denis currently sits in the No. 12 spot in the lightweight rankings. A win over ‘The Diamond’ at UFC 299 could skyrocket him towards the top of the division and put him in a prime position for his first title shot. Saint-Denis recognizes the stakes are high, but he’s not concerning himself with what he could gain from a win. He’s only focused on making sure he gets the win. 

“If I didn’t win my five fights before the way I have been winning, I would not be here talking with you about this fight,” Saint-Denis added. “Each fight is the most important of your career and you have to treat each fight as so. Yeah, it’s a huge fight. It could bring me to the top of the rankings, but it’s not my first concern. My first concern is beating Dustin Poirier who is a very well-rounded fighter. A good southpaw and I can’t wait.”

A win in Miami will undoubtedly get Saint-Denis into the conversation for a lightweight title fight with reigning champion Islam Makhachev, but that isn’t the only belt floating around at 155 right now. Justin Gaethje currently sits as the official BMF titleholder following a brutal second-round knockout of — you guessed it — Dustin Poirier at UFC 291. 

Asked whether he would go for the BMF or the lightweight title with a win over Poirier, the ‘God of War’ said:

“You will have your answer after the fight with Dustin Poirier,” Saint-Denis said. “The first mission will be Dustin and then we will see what comes next.” 

Watch the full exclusive interview below:

Published on February 26, 2024 at 6:55 pm
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