Dustin Poirier has faced insurmountable odds throughout his fight career so going up against an undefeated Russian wrecking machine is just on brand for him.
This past weekend, Poirier finally realized his lifelong dream to become UFC champion when he won the interim lightweight title in a five round battle with Max Holloway.
Despite a trio of finishes against Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje and Anthony Pettis in consecutive performances, Poirier still walked into the Octagon as the underdog against Holloway, who was moving up from 145 pounds for the first time.
Now Poirier is tasked with facing Khabib Nurmagomedov to unify the lightweight titles later this year and once again he’s being told that he has no chance to win.
It turns out, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“My life is a ‘Rocky’ movie. Just this last Saturday, people were looking past me,” Poirier told the UFC Unfiltered podcast. “It’s nothing new to me. It’s exciting.
“I’ve said it before, I honor these challenges, that’s what wakes me up in the morning.”
Since arriving in the UFC, Nurmagomedov has laid waste to every opponent who has stepped in his path and he hadn’t even lost a round until his last fight against Conor McGregor this past October. Coincidentally, Nurmagomedov finished McGregor less than five minutes after he lost that round.
Nurmagomedov’s credentials are unmatched but that doesn’t mean he’s unbeatable, which is why Poirier is still so confident ahead of their eventual meeting later this year.
“I’m only going to build on this and get better. I know for sure I have the skills and the power and the determination and focus to put a loss on his record,” Poirier said.
While he may only be days removed from winning the interim lightweight title, Poirier is already anxiously awaiting the opportunity to face Nurmagomedov as soon as he’s ready.
“I’m ready to get this thing figured out with a date and a location,” Poirier stated.
All signs are pointing towards September after Nurmagomedov serves out the rest of a nine month suspension he received for a post fight brawl following his win over McGregor last October.
As of now, nothing has been inked but Poirier is definitely ready to fight again whenever Nurmagomedov is prepared to face him.