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Morning Report: Dustin Poirier distances himself from the ‘uncrowned champion’ title: ‘It’s cool, it’s fun, but I’m not’

2021 has been a big year for Dustin Poirier and things keep looking up for “The Diamond.”

In January, Poirier avenged his loss to Conor McGregor, knocking out McGregor in the second round at UFC 257. The two then fought for a third time six months later, with Poirier again getting his hand raised, this time by doctor stoppage due to McGregor breaking his leg. The pair of wins over McGregor launched Poirier into a different stratosphere of stardom and the good run continued for Poirier last night when he was honored at the UFC Hall of Fame ceremony as the inaugural winner of the Forrest Griffin Community Award for his the work his Good Fight Foundation has done in his local community and around the world. And with that now behind him, Poirier can focus all his energy on his upcoming title fight against UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira.

“To be the world champion is the reason I ever put on a pair of gloves, not to make money or make a name,” Poirier told the media at the Hall of Fame ceremony. “Everything else is great but those are just by-products of trying to be the best and I have another chance here. I came up short against Khabib but I have another chance to put a gold, undisputed belt in my home and add that to my legacy, and that’s what I’m solely focused on.”

Poirier and Oliveira are expected to fight at UFC 269 later this year. The bout will be one of the most highly anticipated title fights in some time as, following Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement from the sport last year, many people view Poirier as the true number one lightweight in the sport (Poirier is currently the top-ranked lightweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings), in part because Oliveira claimed the vacant title by beating the fourth-ranked fighter in the division, Michael Chandler, instead of Poirier. However, Poirier disagrees with the “uncrowned champion” moniker that he has been given.

“I’m not,” Poirier said. “It’s cool, it’s fun, but I’m not. Charles is the world champion and I’m trying to be that and I have an opportunity. I have 25 minutes to make that happen so it’s up to me....

“Charles Oliveira had a tough road, like me. He put in his work, he cut his teeth, he’s bled and clawed his way to being the world champion, and he is the undisputed world champion, no doubt about it. I see a lot of hate and shade being thrown online, that’s never gonna stop for anybody but the guy has earned it. It’s inspiring to see guys like that, a guy like (Michael) Bisping, Charles Oliveira. If I can do it, I’ll put myself in the same category. Guys who have been knocked down and climbed back up, never say die. Respect. I don’t know the guy personally but I respect his journey to be world champion.”

Among those who have been critical of Oliveira’s championship is former interim champion Justin Gaethje. Gaethje was the last man to fight Khabib before “The Eagle” retired, losing via second-round submission, and Gaethje hasn’t pulled any punches when talking about Oliveira, calling the champion “a quitter.” But as he prepares to face off with Oliveira for the title, Poirier says Oliveira has proved the exact opposite.

“I’ve seen Charles in a lot of fights,” Poirier said. “He’s been in a lot of fights at a high level so I’ve seen him kind of fold in fights before. But I’ve also seen him rise to the occasion and show up in adversity. If he was a quitter, he had a chance to quit when Chandler hurt him but he came back and put him away. If that shows anything - like they say, your last fight is your most important and your next fight is your most important. The guy showed a championship mentality, he showed a championship effort, got hurt, pulled it together, finished the guy. There was no quit that night.”

UFC 269 is set to take place on Dec. 11, at a location yet to be determined.


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Thanks for reading, enjoy the fights, and see y’all next week.



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