After knocking out Justin Gaethje in the fourth round of last weekend’s (Sat., Jan 14, 2018) UFC on FOX 29 event in Glendale, Arizona, Dustin Poirier firmly etched himself in the thick of the Lightweight championship hunt.
Despite Khaib Nurmagomeodv’s camp showing interest in having “The Diamond” be “The Eagle’s” first official challenge as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion, there are those that feel Dustin simply isn’t a championship-level fighter.
Chief among them is former title contender Kevin Lee, who says Poirier has yet to show he belongs at the big table.
“I seen it. I know Poirier was calling for a title fight and all this but I don’t know, it just seems like those dudes are in a different category. Can you really look at it and say Poirier’s a championship-level fighter?” asked Lee during a recent interview on The MMA Hour via MMA Fighting.
“I just don’t see it. He looked good. He did good versus Gaethje, it was an exciting fight, I think he should go out and look for more exciting fights, but it didn’t really seem like a championship-level fight to me to be honest.”
Indeed, the 155-pound showdown was one of the best fights of the year, as Poirier and Gaethje are known for putting on crowd-pleasing bouts. That said, “The Motown Phenom” says that doesn’t always necessarily equate to championship quality.
“Speaking as a fan, what are you really looking for?” Lee said. “He’s just going to go out there and get taken down by Khabib, he’s going to fight just like anybody else will fight Khabib or fight some of these top guys. I just don’t see too much from his style except exciting fights, he added.
“I think him and Eddie (Alvarez), him and Gaethje again, something like that. He makes exciting fights, he should go out there and keep doing that, but leave the real fighting and the real championship-level shit to the other guys.”
Lee came up short in his first and only bid to win UFC gold at UFC 216, losing to Tony Ferguson via submission (see it again here). He will look to begin his run back to the top when he faces off against fearsome striker Edson Barboza in the main event of this weekend’s (Sat., April 21, 2018) UFC Fight Night 128 event in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
For more on that fight card click here.