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Morning Report: Dustin Poirier credits Conor McGregor loss for changing his mentality around fighting

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McGregor/Poirier (EL, MMA Fighting)

Dustin Poirier has been a staple of the UFC nearly a decade now, and in that time, fans have seen him evolve from a fun action-fighting featherweight to one of the very best lightweights in the world. This past weekend, Poirier cemented that status by winning a unanimous decision over Dan Hooker in a five-round war that is among the best fights of the year. And in the aftermath of that fight, “The Diamond” credits his loss to Conor McGregor for helping to kickstart his improvement and getting him to where he is today.

“It definitely started happening after the Conor McGregor loss,” Poirier told ESPN about his evolution as a fighter and emergence as an honest, brass tacks personality. “That was the start of it. It’s been a long process, being a father, losing again, winning some and losing again, and winning another one. It’s just a long evolution of stop caring so much. You just stop caring about the noise and stuff that doesn’t matter. . .

“A lot of times in my younger career, I felt like it was life or death. Every comment on Instagram and Twitter, every journalist who said something, I felt like everybody was against me. I felt like if I lost I would be written off, it’s the end of my career. I’m a bum if I lose this fight. And then you lose a few times and you’re like, ‘Oh sh*t, I can still put this back together. Oh man, I’m still providing for my family. I’m still loving what I do.’ It’s like you’ve been bent but not broken a lot of times and I feel like it made me stronger and it made me the man I am today. I’m happy. I’m genuinely happy.”

Poirier has a lot to be happy about. Poirier was recently announced as the inaugural winner of the Forrest Griffin Community Award, for his work through his own charity, The Good Fight Foundation. On top of that, his win over Dan Hooker moved Poirier up to second in the lightweight rankings, behind only the champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champion Justin Gaethje, a man Poirier has already beaten. That keeps Poirier right in the thick of title contention and fans have already begun calling for a bout with former interim champion Tony Ferguson, something Poirier says he’s not against but he’d like to take some time off before that happens.

“I’m gonna take some time for sure to let my body heal,” Poirier said. “Next week I’m taking my family on a small vacation, just right here to Florida, nothing crazy. Just get some sun, get some beach time, and just relax. Let my mind relax, and we’ll see. I’m definitely not gonna fight back far. I think they just moved me up in the rankings now. Of course, I want to be the undisputed world champion but we’ll see when the UFC calls me, we’ll see what happens. Money talks.”

A bout with Ferguson would make sense to get Poirier back into the title picture. The former interim champion was dominated by Khabib Nurmagomedov last year and will need to put together a few more wins to earn another shot. Unless Justin Gaethje takes the title from Nurmagomedov. Then the title picture would open up considerably for Poirier. And that might be better for Poirier who is honest about his future in the sport, saying that he’s not sure how much time he does have left.

“Like we were saying, I don’t know how many fights I have left,” Poirier said. “I still feel young, I still feel great, fresh, and I love what I do, but I do not want to continue for another five years, fighting fights like I just fought, because I don’t want to love this so much that it kills me. I use that word lightly. Not that I’m gonna die in there, I mean that it’s gonna take something that I can’t get back. Not only from me but for the ones that I love. I want to be there for my daughter forever. I want to be there for my wife. I don’t want to start fading away, mentally or anything like that. And I just know that’s a reality in what we do, in combat sports. I don’t beat around the bush, I know that’s a possibility and I know that what I’m doing isn’t good for myself.”

It’s hard to argue with that reasoning. Poirier’s recent run has seen him fight Anthony Pettis, Eddie Alvarez (twice), Justin Gaethje, Max Holloway, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Dan Hooker. That’s a murderers row of contenders and gives Poirier confidence that even though things haven’t always gone his way, he still has the chance to become the undisputed champion.

“I feel like I’m the best in the world,” Poirier said. “I made mistakes and I got beaten by Khabib, but I know that I can beat Khabib Nurmagomedov. I know I can. I can beat anyone of these guys. . . I don’t want to get anyone back. I’m not in the grudge match business. I want to be the best in the world. I want to be the undisputed world champion.”


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Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



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