Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight contenders Dustin Poirer and Justin Gaethje put on a potential fight of the year contender at UFC on Fox 29, with both fighters putting everything on the line during the contest. Poirier eventually finished Gaethje in the fourth round in what was his second consecutive stoppage suffered by Gaethje’s in his short UFC tenure. Gaethje’s other loss was in December, where he was knocked out by former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.
With the win, Poirier now moves to the upper echelon of lightweight contenders to challenge for the title; whereas Gaethje’s future is more uncertain due the nature of his last two losses.
Poirier recently appeared on “The MMA Hour” and talked about the fight as well as Gaethje’s fighting style.
“It was as I expected,” Poirier said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “Maybe a little tougher. I hit him big shots and he just kept coming forward. He took some serious shots in that fight man and kept it together for most part. The dude’s a warrior. We knew that going into it.”
Gaethje has been in the news a lot recently regarding his approach to fights and potential long-term effects his style could have on his health. Poirier believes it’s not too late for Gaethje to change the way he fights to ensure more longevity in the sport.
“You just need to have a different mindset,” Poirier said. “You need a bit of that for sure. You have to be tough. All these guys are tough. But at some point, you have to outsmart and outthink and out plan these top fighters. You can’t just go in and say, ‘I’m going to be tougher that you,’ you know? Heavy bags are tough, but I’ve never been beat by one.”
Gaethje is an exceptional wrestler, but never utilises this part of his game as he prefers to use the all action rock ‘em sock ‘em approach to fighting to appease the fans.
“Unless you’re committed to fighting the four or five fights that you said you want to retire after, you’re going to take too much damage,” Poirier said. “You have a lot of skill that you’re not showing. And I think you should. He’s an All-America wrestler and I’m sure he has some jiu-jitsu. He wants to entertain the fans.”
It’s anyone’s guess what type of adjustments if any Gaethje will make for his next fight. At the post-fight interview following his loss to Poirier, Gaethje reiterated his goal in every fight is to entertain and fans should get out and see him as he won’t be around for too much longer.