Daniel Cormier Believes BMF Title Will ‘Mean Much More’ at UFC 291, Takes Dig at Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz

DC offered his take on Saturday's highly anticipated main event between Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje, and what it will mean for the BMF title

Courtesy of @UFCNews on Twitter

UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier expects the UFC 291 main event between Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje to be even better than their 2018 Fight of the Year clash. 

On Saturday night, one of the most anticipated lightweight bouts in the history of the division will go down as fan favorites and former interim champions Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje collide. The bout will serve as not only a rematch of their instant classic from a half-decade ago, but it will also crown a new BMF champion. 

Appearing on ESPN’s First Take with Stephen A. Smith, Cormier suggested that putting the bragging rights belt on the line between Poirier and Gaethje will take the title to a whole new level.

“Honestly, the significance of the belt is fun fighters, but I believe the criteria for this championship has now changed,” Cormier said. “Because the first two guys that fought for it were [Nate] Diaz and [Jorge] Masvidal. Love the guys, but they have 30 losses combined. You now have two championship-level fighters. Guys that have worn the interim championship. 11 losses combined between Poirier and Gaethje. Both are on a run. Both are at the top of the sport and both are still looking to contend for a lightweight championship fight.

“This title fight means much more than it did when those guys met in Madison Square Garden. And when you put these two together… The 2018 fight might have been the fight of the decade because I can almost guarantee you that this Saturday, it’s going to be as good or even better.”

Since their last run-in, Poirier and Gaethje have undeniably improved inside the Octagon with each man capturing the interim lightweight title.

“Both of these guys have gotten so much better since the first fight, but I gotta be honest with you,” Cormier contained. “There is something to standing in the middle of that Octagon and getting a belt strapped around you. Both of these men have experienced this. So, while the skill sets have really evolved and they’ve gotten so much better inside the Octagon between the eight sides of the cage, it’s the confidence that they carry today that they may not have had back in 2018.”

Cormier Expects Poirier vs. Gaethje 2 to Be a Brawl Despite Both Men Developing a Ground Game Since Their Last Meeting

In their first meeting at UFC on Fox 29, Dustin Poirier came out on top scoring a knockout 33 seconds into the fourth round. Cormier believes that if Justin Gaethje wants to even the odds, he needs to leave the past in the past and recognize that he is a much different fighter than the one that fell to ‘The Diamond’ five years ago. 

“Trying not to overthink it,” Cormier said when asked what the key will be for each man. “And for Justin, because it was so long ago, trying to forget. Trying to forget what happened at the end. And try to live in the fact that you had a ton of success and that you’re a different fighter. You can’t put too much stock into what happened five years ago because as you both know, and anyone with two eyes can see, these guys are better fighters. They’re not the same.” 

In the end, ‘DC’ believes the bout will ultimately come down to whoever can dictate the pace and where the fight takes place. 

“I honestly believe it’s going to be who can dictate where the fight takes place. We saw Dustin Poirier in his last fight with Michael Chandler, take him down, and submit him. We also saw Justin Gaethje was able to do that in the third round against Rafael Fiziev, but again, it speaks to the evolution of the fighter. But I just don’t know if we get that between the two. Because they’re both so good at what they do and they’re both so good at the standup, that these guys want to stand and trade.

“I spoke to both of them and the confidence that is coming off of these two men, the ability to believe that they are going to get their hand raised and become the BMF champion, which ultimately leads them to a showdown with the winner of Makhachev/Oliveira is… They’re so sure of themselves going into the main event at UFC 291.”

Published on July 28, 2023 at 2:06 pm
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