Poirier Rates Gaethje’s Chances Highly
Dustin Poirier believes Justin Gaethje has a good chance of not only beating Tony Ferguson but Khabib Nurmagomedov as well.
Gaethje has reportedly been offered to Ferguson as a potential replacement opponent following Nurmagomedov’s withdrawal from their UFC 249 lightweight title fight on April 18. It it goes ahead, the winner of the fight will undoubtedly face “The Eagle” next.
And Poirier — who defeated Gaethje in a back-and-forth war back in 2018 — believes “The Highlight” has a better chance of beating Nurmagomedov than Ferguson.
“I think Gaethje does, I’ve said it since the beginning,” Poirier told Ariel Helwani on ESPN MMA’s Instagram Live earlier this week. “I just think the wrestling pedigree [is enough]. Dude, look, I’m not just trying to be a d**k here or talk bad about these guys. But, I thought Tony lost, this was a while back, but I thought Danny Castillo beat Tony. I thought Danny won that fight, I thought he outwrestled him. If Kevin Lee and Danny Castillo are putting you on your back at will, dude, Khabib is going to do that whenever he wants, I promise you. I know this.
“And the people saying Tony’s going to damage Khabib. Dude, to get a stoppage from your back with elbows, it could happen, but it’s going to be so tough. The cuts going to have to be perfect. The submission of your back against Khabib from guard or something, I just don’t see that happening. Maybe in the scramble, you can catch him with something funky. But if he is taking you down and he’s in your guard or on top of you, submitting him from your back, I just don’t see it happening, man.”
Poirier went one step further. He even believes Gaethje can inflict the first professional defeat of Nurmagomedov’s career.
“He can stop the wrestling,” Poirier added. “He can use his wrestling to stop Khabib’s wrestling, get him tired out and throw those crazy shots and land something. That’s what I think could happen.
“… I like Justin in both fights. I do. Listen, if guys are hurting you and dropping you, if Gaethje gets a hold of you, he’s going to stop you, I think. That’s my MMA opinion which means nothing.”
We may get to see if Poirier is right about Gaethje when it comes to a fight with Ferguson later this month.