Dustin Poirier isn’t fooling himself into believing that his upcoming fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov is going to be easy.
After more than 30 professional fights, the highest of highs in big wins and the lowest of lows in devastating losses, the 30-year-old Louisiana native has seen it all during his career. That’s why he’s not talking down about reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov ahead of their fight at UFC 242 in September.
In fact, Poirier is rather complimentary when speaking about the undefeated Russian, especially when he’s asked about Nurmagomedov’s perceived weaknesses even with a perfect 27-0 record.
“27 have tried, 27 have failed,” Poirier said about Nurmagomedov during the UFC 242 pre-fight press conference. “A lot of people have been asking me where do I see weaknesses in Khabib’s game or where do I think he makes mistakes. I’ve kind of been sitting back talking to my coaches and thinking about this and I don’t really need him to be weak for me to be strong. I don’t need huge, glaring holes.
“I’m going to create them with my pressure, with my fight IQ and just my experience and the amount of rounds and years I’ve been doing this. It’s going to be a very high level fight. You’ve got two guys on the pound-for-pound list, one of them’s undefeated, both of them are champions. Two champions are going on, one champion is coming out. This is going to be a huge fight. I’m excited about it. I’ll make those openings that we’re talking about.”
As much as it’s become common in the lead up to any fight in the UFC lately to see opponents tear each other down for the sake of promotion, Poirier isn’t going to insult Nurmagomedov just to make a few headlines.
Poirier knows that Nurmagomedov is as good as advertised, which is why he wanted this fight in the first place so could finally be the person to make him taste defeat.
“Experience, self-belief, my mindset,” Poirier responded when asked why he’s the person to finally beat Nurmagomedov. “I’m focused on making history and that’s all I care about. That’s what the next 11 weeks are going to be to prepare for 25 minutes to do whatever I have to do to get my hand raised.
“I don’t need to find huge holes. The guy’s good. I can’t sit up here and say anything bad about the guy. He’s good. He’s the world champ. But I’m going to make things happen in there and bring him to places he’s never been in there. That’s just it.”
That kind of grit and determination have defined Poirier during this recent run where he’s gone unbeaten for his past six fights including wins over three current or former UFC champions with a trio of knockouts along the way.
Poirier knows that he’s going to be an underdog when stepping into the cage against Nurmagomedov and he’s positive that people are almost certainly going to count him out.
That’s nothing new to him and it only makes the win that much sweeter when it happens.
“This is what books are written about. My life is a movie. My life is like a ‘Rocky’ movie,” Poirier said. “This is going to be fun, I accept the challenge. I’m excited about it. I embrace all of this.
“I just want to show everybody how great I can be and what I have inside of me.”