Dustin Poirier Dismisses Benoit Saint-Denis’ Staph Infection Excuse, Talks Potential Title Fight with Islam Makhachev

'The Diamond' isn't interested in hearing about Saint-Denis' struggles with staph or Makhachev's claim that he doesn't deserve a title shot

Dustin Poirier
Courtesy of @UFCNews on X

Dustin Poirier isn’t interested in hearing any excuses from Benoit Saint-Denis. 

Stepping into the co-main event spotlight at UFC 299, ‘The Diamond’ struggled to hold his ground in the opening round as the ‘God of War’ pushed him against the cage wall and landed a variety of stinging combinations before taking things to the canvas. This continued for much of the second round, with Saint-Denis moving into back mount at one point. 

But just as things appeared to be getting away from Poirier, the former interim lightweight champ slipped out the back door and blasted a fatigued Saint-Denis with a counter right that sent the Frenchman crashing to the canvas

Following the loss, Saint-Denis blamed his performance on a staph infection that affected his weight cut and caused him to gas out early in the bout. While there were rumors that Saint-Denis had been fighting an infection before fight night, he had vehemently denied it… Until he lost

Dismissing Saint-Denis’ excuse, Poirier told MMA Junkie’s Mackenzie Salmon that it’s only appropriate for a fighter to bring up struggles stemming from a camp when you win, as every fighter is typically dealing with some type of issue by the time they step inside the Octagon. 

“You say those type of things — I had an infection, I was battling something — when you win, you don’t say that when you lose,” Poirier said. “I’ve gone into so many fights with staph infection, with fractured foot, with lacerated bicep. Staph infection in my ear! All kinds of stuff, that’s fighting. We’re on the mats everyday. Everybody has something going on going into fights but you can’t say that when you lose. You gotta hush it up.”

Dustin Poirier Reacts to Makhachev’s Claim That He ‘Does Not Deserve’ a Title Shot

Following his victory over Saint-Denis, Poirier was immediately targeted by reigning UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev. The ‘Dagestani Destroyer’ is currently in the market for a challenger, but with both Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje already booked for UFC 300 on April 13, the pickins are slim.

Makhachev ultimately landed on ‘The Diamond’ following the events of UFC 299, but straight up acknowledged that Poirier “does not deserve” the shot. 

“That’s on him. I’ve done more in the sport of mixed martial arts than he has,” Poirier said in response to Makhachev’s comment. “I’ve been around a long time. I was doing this before it was cool, and I’m still here. Still here doing it at the highest level. I can beat anybody in the world, and I hope he’s next.”

There’s been no word as to whether or not the UFC will move forward with the pair’s potential clash at UFC 302 later this year, but Poirier is 100% ready to sign on the dotted line.

“One hundred percent that’s what I want,” Poirier said. “If I could pick a fight, the title fight – that’s my choice. That’s what I want.”

Making his promotional debut in January 2011, Dustin Poirier has made the walk to the Octagon 30 times. He’s faced some of the biggest names in lightweight history, captured interim gold, and currently sits among the division’s loaded top five. But in two attempts to become an undisputed champ, he’s come up short. 

Poirier is confident that the third time will be the charm and remains hopeful that the fight will come to fruition within the next few months. 

“It’s the only thing left for me to do,” Poirier added. “I’ve done everything else in the sport of mixed martial arts. I’ve created business – multiple businesses. I’ve headlined so many cards. I’ve been 30 times in the UFC Octagon. My family is set. I’ve done everything I’ve set out to do but capture the title, and that’s the only thing left for me to do, and that’s what I want.”

Watch the full interview below:

Published on March 23, 2024 at 1:54 pm
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