Dustin Poirier is 5-0 in the state of Louisiana. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Though his MMA pursuits have taken him elsewhere, this is home for Dustin Poirier.
The 26-year-old Lafayette, La., native will take on Yancy Medeiros in a lightweight showcase at UFC Fight Night “Boetsch vs. Henderson” on Saturday at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Poirier, who has never lost in five appearances in his home state, grew up a little more than 100 miles away from The Big Easy.
“Just to be on Louisiana soil and back in New Orleans, it’s awesome,” he said in an interview ESPN Radio 1420. “I feel good energy out here, and I’m just glad to be home.”
After an extended and largely successful run as a featherweight, Poirier returned to the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s cutthroat 155-pound division at a UFC Fight Night event in April, as he knocked out Carlos Diego Ferreira with first-round punches.
“I know I made the right decision moving up, going back up to 155,” he said. “I felt great, and that was a great performance. That’s the kind of performance you can expect to see from me from here on out.”
Medeiros has impressed during his brief stint in the UFC. The 27-year-old Hawaiian rebounded from a UFC 172 defeat to Jim Miller with back-to-back submissions on Damon Jackson and Joe Proctor. A dynamic offensive fighter, Medeiros has secured nine of his 11 career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission, cutting down six opponents inside one round. Poirier anticipates a standup battle.
“He’s never attempted to take anybody down, so he’s obviously looking to kickbox; and I feel like I’m better than him there,” Poirier said. “I’m probably going to pick him apart on the feet, and if I decide to put him on his back, then I’ll do that. The fight’s going to go where I want it to. I’m going to be in charge in there.”
Poirier has tried to remain focused on what counts in the cage.
“I’m trying not to get emotional like I have in the past,” he said. “I’m not focused on him or who he is. I’m focused on how he fights and his style. I’m just being myself: ‘Just relax and be yourself.’ If I can perform like the way I know I can, this fight will be a walk in the park.”
Shawn Jordan and Derrick Lewis first met on the regional circuit five years ago. Their rematch will take place on a much bigger stage with far more at stake.
The two heavyweights will duke it out as part of the UFC Fight Night “Boetsch vs. Henderson” prelims, with each man looking to improve his position in what remains a thin division. Jordan took a unanimous decision from Lewis under the Cajun Fighting Championships banner in June 2010 and has pieced together a 5-3 mark since arriving in the UFC. The 30-year-old American Top Team rep will enter the cage against Lewis, a former Legacy Fighting Championship titleholder, on the strength of a two-fight winning streak.
“I wouldn’t say he’s a completely different fighter, but I kind of just keep looking forward either way,” Jordan told Sherdog.com. “I assume he’s improved and done some things and learned some other stuff ... I don’t have a problem with the guy. He seems to have something against me, though, so I don’t know.”
THIS & THAT
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has staged nine events in the United States in 2015, drawing 110,026 in reported attendance and $21,688,836 in gate receipts ... Dan Henderson has beaten 10 former UFC, Strikeforce and Pride Fighting Championships titleholders: Mauricio Rua (twice), Murilo Bustamante (twice), Renato Sobral (twice), Fedor Emelianenko, Rafael Cavalcante, Rich Franklin, Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Carlos Newton ... Between Sept. 17, 2005 and Sept. 20, 2007, Ben Rothwell went 13-0 with 11 finishes ... The five fighters who have defeated Thiago Tavares -- Khabib Nurmagomedov, Shane Roller, Kurt Pellegrino, Matt Wiman and Tyson Griffin -- own a cumulative record of 81-29 ... Onetime Bellator MMA and Tachi Palace Fights champion Joe Soto sports eight submissions among his 15 career victories: two by guillotine choke, two by rear-naked choke and one each by north-south choke, gogoplata, kimura and kneebar ... Brian Ebersole has won fights in five different countries: United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Mexico ... When Christos Giagos was born on Jan. 23, 1990, the top five movies at the domestic box office were “Born on the Fourth of July,” “Tango & Cash,” “Internal Affairs,” “The War of the Roses” and “Tremors” ... Justin Edwards graduated from Urbana University with a degree in criminal justice ... Leandro Morales lists Nicaraguan boxing legend Alexis Arguello as his hero on UFC.com. Arguello compiled an 88-8 record, winning world titles in multiple weight classes and engaging Aaron Pryor in a memorable two-fight series ... Ricardo Abreu has defeated his first five opponents in a grand total of 8:54.
Francisco Rivera has recorded four knockdowns in UFC competition, according to FightMetric data. That ties him with Renan Barao for third among bantamweights on the promotion’s all-time list. He trails only T.J. Dillashaw and Michael McDonald, both of whom have five.
INSIDE THE VENUE
The Smoothie King Center opened in October 1999 at a cost of $114 million and serves as the home arena for the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans.