On paper, UFC on FOX 29 is the best FOX card so far of 2018 — though there is really one matchup that stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Saturday night’s main event, Justin Gaethje vs. Dustin Poirier, is the kind of fight that makes this whole crazy game worthwhile, a scintillating showcase between two of the most talented and most entertaining fighters in the sport today. Standing on one side is Gaethje, a forward-pressure butcher whose terrifying résumé is littered with Fight of the Year candidates and the bloody husks of fallen foes. On the other side is Poirier, a violent technician who delights in the firefight and rarely leaves the cage without spilling a few samplings of crimson.
Gaethje vs. Poirier is a true fighters’ fight, so ahead of the madness set to go down in Glendale’s Gila River Arena at UFC on FOX 29, we asked the card’s main card competitors for their thoughts about a matchup lingering on everyone’s mind.
Carlos Condit: “That’s a great matchup. Justin’s just a savage, man. He’ll take three or four shots to hit you with one big one. And Poirier is super legit. He’s super sharp. It’s a hell of a matchup. ... [Gaethje] is a fighter, you know? He’s not just an athlete who fights. He’s a fighter. But so is Poirier, so that’s going to be a hell of a fight. I’m excited for that one.”
Marvin Vettori: “Oh, it’s a crazy fight, man. Those guys always go at it. Honestly, it’s a hard fight to pick. I think Poirier is the more complete fighter, but Gaethje — I mean, he’s complete too.
Michelle Waterson: “I think that both of these men have very similar styles. They just like to go out there and hash it out, and I’m very excited to see — with fighters like that, it’s kind of up in the air, really. You never know what’s going to happen, and I have a feeling that each one of them are going to clip the other more than once, and the fight will continue.
“I think it’ll be like multiple standing knockouts, and I kind of have a feeling it’ll turn into something along the lines of the Robbie Lawler and [Carlos Condit] fight, so I’m very excited to see that fight.”
Cortney Casey: “Man, that’s tough. I think it’s going to be an outstanding fight. I don’t care who wins really, I think it’s going to be great. I’m really excited to watch that fight.”
Israel Adesanya: “Justin, props to him. Someone’s gotta do it. He’s like, ‘F*ck it, I want to be the most violent man in the game, and I want to just drag someone into deep waters and see if they can survive.’ And that’s cool, and it’s fun to watch.
“For me, it’s just light a match and step back. Just light a match and get the f*ck away because it’s going to be crazy.”