Dustin Poirier switches camps, joins American Top Team

Esther Lin - Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE

When Dustin Poirier lost via fourth-round submission to Chan Sung Jung on May 15, most observers were willing to give him a pass.

There's no shame, after all, in coming out on the wrong end of a bout which ranks high on the short list of contenders for 2012 Fight of the Year.

Poirier, though, saw things differently. He took the defeat as a signal to make a change in his career path.

So when the 23-year old featherweight contender next steps into the Octagon, he'll do so with a new camp. Poirier is leaving his Louisiana home base at Tim Credeur's Gladiators Academy and will train full-time with the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla.

"We both kind of knew it," Poirier said on a recent edition of The MMA Hour. "He knew it, and I knew it. Before the ‘Zombie' fight we were looking at maybe AKA or something, we were talking about switching camps before that fight. So after the fight, we re-assessed everything, and that's what we chose to do. So we both knew it was time, it was just a matter of what place it was going to be."

Poirier has made it a point to say that he's still on good terms with Credeur, and was actually calling into the show Monday from the Louisiana gym. But Poirier said it was simply time to move on.

"Me and Tim are good friends, but, I've got a place there [in Florida], an apartment there, I'm going to live there full time," Poirier said. "I'm going to do what I have to do, I think there's going to be a lot of huge improvements in my game because of this. We have great fighters here at Gladiators Academy, but I need top-level guys pushing me, I can't be the big fish in the pond anymore."

Poirier, who had a five-fight win streak snapped in his loss to Jung, says he hasn't yet gotten over the loss.

"I'm still not over it. I'd go out tomorrow and fight him again for a 10-round fight," Poirier said. "I know I could beat him, I'm better than that. But hey, I have my opportunity to work my way back to prove it. To prove it with my skills is the best way to do it."

He does, however, admit to watching the Jung fight several times.

"I wasn't as I usually am on my feet," Poidier said. "I threw single punches instead of throwing punches in combinations. I should have pressured him when he was hurt. I just made a lot of mistakes and I learned a lot from it. I feel like I'm a completely different fighter than I was in May.

"We knew he was tough, we've seen it in the Leonard Garcia fights where he showed his heart. That was a given, we knew he was going to be tough. The thing that surprised me was how technical he was in that fight."

Poirier will return to action on Dec. 15 when he meets Jonathan Brookins on the TUF 16 Finale card, a seven-month stretch between fights. That's a long break for someone whose previous five fights went down during a 15-month span.

"I was ready to go," Poirier said. "I think it was a scheduling thing, my manager wanted me to take some time and look back at things and not rush into anything, not fight on emotion, jump back into the cage and prove something for myself. I think it was for good."

While Brookins isn't on most people's list of featherweight championship contenders, Poirier says he looks forward to the stylistic matchup.

"I love this fight," he said. "Another southpaw, I feel like I match up good against southpaws. I'm excited, I'm looking to get back in there. ... I would have took a fight three months ago, I would have fought a month after my ‘Zombie' fight. I'm just happy to get back in there."

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