Dustin Poirier stands 25 minutes from his destiny after long road to UFC title


Poirier came up short in his first shot at the lightweight title two years ago but can redeem himself when he faces current champion Charles Oliveira at UFC 269

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UFC 269 Poirier vs Oliveira preview

Dustin Poirier can top off a phenomenal 2021 campaign at UFC 269 tonight when he has the chance to become the undisputed lightweight champion.

Perennial contender Poirier has undoubtedly had the best year during his decade-long tenure with the UFC, picking up two stoppage wins against promotional star Conor McGregor.

‘The Diamond’ passed up the opportunity to face Charles Oliveira for the vacant lightweight title in May to pursue a trilogy with McGregor, with Oliveira stopping Michael Chandler to win the belt.

Only suffering defeat to now-retired Khabib Nurmagomedov in his last 10 fights, Poirier can live up to his motto of being “paid in full” in the UFC’s final pay-per-view of the year.

And here’s all you need to know about Poirier’s journey to UFC 269…

Move to lightweight

Starting his career as a lightweight, Poirier amassed a 7-0 record with all of his wins coming by stoppage before signing for the WEC in 2010.

The organisation later merged with the UFC and Poirier would pledge his future to 145-pounds, spoiling the promotional debut of future featherweight Max Holloway.

But after losses to Chan Sung Jung, Cub Swanson and McGregor, Poirier decided to move up a weight class due to extensive weight cutting taking a toll on his body.

“The cut made me hate the process of getting ready for a fight. I was focused on how to make weight instead of how to beat my opponent,” he told MMA Fighting.

“It sucks to drop out of the rankings, but it has to be done. I’m 180 (pounds) and in great shape.

“I want to fight the fights that fans want to see. I’m excited to reintroduce myself at a more natural weight.”

Poirier’s move to lightweight would prove to be a wise decision, picking up three first-round stoppages in his first four fights and the new weight class.

‘The Diamond’ has solidified his status as one of the best lightweights on the UFC roster in recent years with just two losses in fifteen fights at 155-pounds.

Dustin Poirier won the interim lightweight title in 2019
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Image:

Getty Images)

First title shot

Poirier earned an interim title shot by picking up stoppage wins against former champions Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez, all of which took place in less than 10 months.

He welcomed then-featherweight champion Max Holloway, who was riding a 13-fight winning streak as he attempted to win gold in his UFC lightweight debut.

Poirier displayed his superior boxing skills in the fight to win a one-sided unanimous decision and set up a fight with the undisputed titleholder Nurmagomedov.

Nurmagomedov returned from a nine-month suspension due to his post-fight brawl after submitting Conor McGregor at UFC 229 to defend his title for the first time.

In the fight, Poirier was inches away from securing a guillotine choke but Nurmagomedov would rally to submit the American later on in the round.

It was arguably the closest Nurmagomedov – who retired with a flawless record of 29-0 – came to defeat during his nine years in the UFC.

And Nurmagomedov later admitted Poirier’s guillotine was “very close” to finishing the fight.

“Only one thing that was very close, this is guillotine. First time, it was very good guillotine,” Nurmagomedov admitted.

“First time it was close, second time I give him because I feel he lost so much energy and power because of (the) guillotine.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov submitted Dustin Poirier at UFC 242
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SIPA USA/PA Images)

Rivalry with McGregor

When McGregor and fought Poirier first fought in 2014, there was an intense rivalry between the pair with plenty of trash talk in the build-up.

But in their rematch seven years later both men were extremely cordial with each other, a contrast to the brashness McGregor’s typically shows towards his opponents.

McGregor would suffer the first knockout loss of his MMA career but was still respectful with Poirier after the fight and pledged to donate $500,000 to his charity, The Good Fight.

Things took a turn for the worst when a trilogy fight was announced, as Poirier claimed McGregor’s team had stopped responding to their emails regarding the donation.

McGregor vowed to take Poirier’s head “off his shoulders” and promised he would leave the arena on a stretcher as their rivalry turned personal.

But it would be repeat in the rematch for Poirier as McGregor suffered a broken tibia at the end of round one, awarding Poirier with his second TKO win over his rival.

“This guy was saying he was gonna murder me and I was gonna leave here in a coffin, you don’t talk like that to people man,” he said after the fight.

A fourth fight between the pair is expected, especially as McGregor vowed to kill Poirier and his wife “in their sleep” in his post-fight interview of the trilogy.

Conor McGregor broke his tibia against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264
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Image:

Zuffa LLC)

Charity work

Poirier has been auctioning his fight-worn apparel since 2018 to raise money for his non-profit charity, The Good Fight.

The money raised helped go towards underserved communities in Poirier’s hometown of Louisiana, covering areas such as food insecurity to environmental disaster relief.

He first auctioned off his UFC 211 worn fight kit for $5,100 on eBay and donated the proceeds to Second Harvest Food Bank, providing them with 3,000 meals.

Poirier’s former opponent Holloway donated his fight worn gloves from their UFC 236 clash to The Good Fight.

Holloway’s donation helped contribute towards the construction of a playground in memory of 7-year-old Aaron Hill, who tragically died after battling a rare brain disease.

Nurmagomedov even donated $100,000 to Poirier’s charity after their title fight, with UFC president Dana White also matching the donation.

“I’m proud of that. I appreciate them helping out the charity. It’s been growing and I’m very grateful for that,” he said of the donation.

Poirier teamed up with the charity of Justin Wren, a Bellator heavyweight turned humanitarian and philanthropist, for his UFC 264 trilogy with McGregor.

His fight worn kit sold for a massive $28,000 and the money went towards building a pharmacy, football pitch and medical clinic for Pygmy people in Uganda.

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