Dustin Poirier faces his toughest task to date when he takes on undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi on Sept. 7. Poirier goes into the fight as a large betting underdog but says that at the end of the day, his opponent can be beaten by anyone provided they can stay composed in the fight.
Poirier took on Max Holloway back in April at UFC 236 for the interim 155-pound belt and overpowered “Blessed” throughout the fight winning the contest by unanimous decision to earn the right to face Nurmagomedov.
Poirier knows that he faces an uphill task to defeat “The Eagle” which will be made even more difficult as it will be in hostile territory. The lead-up to the momentous event is surreal according to Poirier and reminds him of a Rocky movie.
“This is real, I’m a world champion,” Poirier said to ESPN. “As is he. This is a super fight to me. That’s how I feel. That’s what this feels like to me. We’re going to a sold-out arena they’re building as we speak in Abu Dhabi, the middle of the desert, and princes and sheiks will be there. It’s crazy. It’s a Rocky movie.”
“The Diamond” is confident that the undefeated champion can be beaten but believes it will require a lot of patience on his behalf during the fight. Poirier stressed that one of the keys to success is not being overwhelmed if he gets in a bad position.
“A lot of guys he’s fought have the skills to beat him,” Poirier said. “Fighting’s a crazy thing, it takes one mistake. He can be beaten by anybody. It’s just as camp’s going on for me, I’m starting to realize things and say, ‘Well I wonder if they made this mistake.’ I’ve only been in camp for a week. But, I’m noticing I’m paying a lot of attention to specific positions and the small details in those positions. I can see how somebody fighting a dominant guy who’s never been beat like Khabib could get not overwhelmed, but look too far in the details of defense and staying safe and position.
“It’s a yin-yang, man. You got to have a balance. If you just worry about that, you lose what you do the best.”