Dustin Poirier Doesn't Believe Long Layoff Will Affect Nurmagomedov at UFC 242

By Nathan Zur Sep 5, 2019

UFC interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier has brushed off suggestions that Khabib Nurmagomedov may suffer from ring rust when the pair meet this weekend at UFC 242 to unify the 155-pound title, expressing his belief that Nurmagomedov will be at the height of his powers come Saturday.

The champion has been inactive for 11 months as a result of the suspension handed down to him for his part an all-in brawl at the conclusion of his last fight against Conor McGregor at UFC 229 last October.

During a pre-UFC 242 conference call, Poirier was asked how he thought his opponent would fare after being out of action for so long, and said he believed Nurmagomedov is the kind of fighter that keeps in shape year round so it won’t be an issue come fight night.

“I think that’s more of an individual thing,” Poirier said. “Everybody is different.”

Poirier used the recent example of UFC 241 last month, when Nate Diaz beat Anthony Pettis over their three-round co-main event fight despite Diaz being out of action for nearly three years:

“Recently, we’ve seen Nate Diaz come back and beat Anthony Pettis. Anthony’s been pretty active. Nate [hadn’t] fought in three years. And ring rust is a thing people touch around, a word people touch around, but I think it’s more individualized. It depends how hard you’re working in the gym, and how focused you are, and how ready to compete you are.

“And I believe Khabib’s one of the guys who works year round, he’s always working on his craft, and I think he’s going to be the best he’s ever been Sept. 7.”