Dustin Poirier is no longer asking for what he wants.
He’s taking it.
The veteran lightweight competitor put on one of his best performances to date on Saturday night as he defeated former champion Anthony Pettis. He then turned his attention toward his next fight against the winner of the upcoming UFC 218 fight between Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje.
Poirier stormed through Pettis en route to a third-round finish, as he picked up the signature win that he wanted to add to his resume while hunting for title contention. Though Poirier had no fear of fighting Pettis on the feet, he had a game plan going into the fight and it paid off as he consistently kept his opponent guessing.
Poirier surprised Pettis with an early takedown after a few exchanges on the feet, as he planted the former lightweight champion on the mat.
While he’s best known as a striker, Pettis didn’t panic and immediately looked for a kimura from the bottom and then landed a nice sweep to reverse positions until they returned to the feet.
Poirier stayed composed before launching a huge head kick that blasted Pettis. While he didn’t land it flush, the American Top Team fighter definitely did some damage. The kicks also opened up a small cut under Pettis’ eye as he got backed up against the cage with Poirier pouring on the punishment.
Poirier continued to blast away, but Pettis was able to survive until the horn. As Poirier went back to his corner, he was all smiles following a very strong start to the fight.
As the second round got underway, Poirier once again dove down for a slick double-leg takedown that put Pettis on the ground again.
Pettis immediately transitioned to look for the triangle choke, but Poirier quickly slipped free before he began blasting away with elbows. The final shot opened a huge cut on the eyebrow that began leaking blood almost immediately.
A second later, Pettis’ face was an absolute mess, but he was still working as the fighters kept reversing positions in a constant scramble on the mat. Referee Keith Peterson finally paused the action to get a doctor to check on the cut on Pettis, but after cleaning him up, the fight was allowed to continue.
Upon the restart, Pettis locked up another triangle choke attempt with about 20 seconds to go and it looked like he might have the submission, but Poirier slipped out and unleashed punches until the horn sounded.
Poirier continued with his same strategy in the third round as he took Pettis to the ground and began his assault again. This time, Poirier was able to transition to take the back as he locked on the body triangle and began to work for a choke.
Pettis did his best to roll out of the position yet again, but this time it appeared the pressure from Poirier’s body triangle combined with a hard twist trying to break free resulted in the former champion popping a rib, as he began tapping out with a painful wince on his face.
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The end came at 2:08 in the third round.
It was a signature victory for Poirier, as he defeated a former lightweight champion in a main event after a disappointing end to his last fight against Eddie Alvarez that ended in a controversial no contest.
After the fight was finished, Poirier didn’t make a request for his next fight, but instead demanded the match-up he wanted following a very impressive outing to defeat Pettis on Saturday night.
“I’m not going to ask for a fight, I’m going to tell you right now who I’m going to fight,” Poirier said. “I’m going to fight the winner of Justin Gaethje-Eddie Alvarez and then I’m going to fight for the belt. There, I laid it out for you guys. The work’s over.”
It’s hard to argue with Poirier’s logic considering his latest performance and his past beef with Alvarez stemming from their fight earlier this year.
As for Pettis, the former champion falls to 2-5 in his past seven fights, as he’s struggled to maintain consistency since losing the lightweight title in 2015. Of course, Pettis put up a serious battle against Poirier, but unfortunately still came out on the losing end.