Dustin Poirier On Where ‘Khabib’s Pupil’ Islam Makhachev Presents ‘More Of A Threat’ Than Ex-Champ

Former title challenger Poirier wants to pull off the upset of the year at UFC 302.

Khabib Dustin Islam
(via @khabib_nurmagomedov, @diaztwinsmma - Instagram)

Stylistically, Dustin Poirier believes his third title fight could be his toughest one yet.

Not all hope is lost as the perennial lightweight contender still chases the championship at 35 years old, hoping to make the most out of his next opportunity, where he will take on the champion Islam Makhachev at UFC 302. Winning the world title is one of the last things on Poirier’s MMA bucket list after going 0-2 against other champs such as Khabib Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveira.

The upcoming style matchup doesn’t fall under the best of circumstances for Poirier as it’s something he has already seen and lost to before. Training with the 29-0 Nurmagomedov since childhood, Makhachev’s overall game has been a problem for just about everyone he’s faced in the lightweight division. From submitting Oliveira to knocking out Alexander Volkanovski, there’s not much Makhachev can’t do.

How Makhachev Stacks Up To Nurmagomedov

Come June 1st, Poirier will have been the only fighter to share the Octagon with both Nurmagomedov and Makhachev. Ahead of the feat, Poirier rates Makhachev’s style and how it compares to his predecessor, “The Eagle”.

“I think his submission game, jiu-jitsu wise is a little bit more versatile than Khabib’s was,” Poirier said on ‘The MMA Hour‘. “Khabib had some chokes that he did really well, but Islam’s putting himself in, you could say bad positions going for armbars, maybe he loses a position, but he trusts wrestling to get it back. I think he’s a little bit more of a threat, jiu-jitsu wise and scrambles, but I think his striking is better than Khabib’s.”

A Similar Story, This Time With A Different Ending?

The former interim champion was on the cusp of undisputed status, that is, until he ran into Nurmagomedov at the top of his game at UFC 242. Poirier survived to see round 3 but ultimately tapped out to the Russian from a rear-naked choke. That’s how his next title fight with Brazil’s Oliveira would play out— in the same exact fashion, two years after the fact.

While Makhachev poises a similar challenge to Poirier on the ground, “The Diamond” is super confident that this third title shot will see him shine as a champion rather than submitted as a contender yet again.

“That’s the top of the list, being the undisputable world champion,” Poirier continued. “I understand the threat in front of me June 1st, the pound-for-pound number one guy, Khabib’s pupil, if you want to say. I understand the challenge against me, but man, what a way to finish a story. You can’t write a book or a movie and, and if I pull this off and you write a book or a movie and make people think it’s real, it’s like a real life ‘Rocky’ story, but I’m that guy to do it. I 100% believe in myself. I think, and believe and feel every night when I go to sleep that I’m gonna be the world champion June 1st.”

Don’t Be Silly, Poirier Is For Sure Jumping The Gilly

How exactly will Dustin Poirier end his legendary UFC story? Well, it’s no secret that the fan-favorite wants to finally find his finishing move and where better to do it than in the biggest fight of his life in New Jersey.

“I’m gonna get one. I’m gonna get [a guillotine]. I’ll get a bronze statue in my front yard of me in the guillotine position,” Poirier said if he submits Makhachev at UFC 302. “You miss all the ones you don’t jump, man…. [Mateusz] Gamrot and Mike Brown are telling me, stop it.”

Watch Dustin Poirier’s full pre-fight interview below:

Published on May 6, 2024 at 5:09 pm
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