If Dustin Poirier is able to knock off UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway and UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in the same calendar year he’ll have to be considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in MMA today.
Luckily for “Diamond,” he already defeated “Blessed” earlier this month at UFC 236 to claim the interim lightweight title. All Poirier has to do now is hand Khabib his first professional defeat later this year when the two meet in a proposed title unification bout. Needless to say, it will be the biggest fight of Poirier’s career considering the dominance that Nurmagomedov has demonstrated through 11 perfect UFC bouts, which includes a recent submission victory over Conor McGregor this past October.
With the odds stacked against him, Poirier will have to rise to the occasion to knock off one of the most destructive forces to ever step inside of the Octagon. Poirier’s head coach, Mike Brown, believes his fighter is ready to make that next jump.
“Dustin knows what he’s capable of, and all these guys are dangerous, they’re all very good fighters, so it’s better to put yourself in there against the guy everybody thinks is unbeatable,” Brown said in a recent interview with MMA Fighting’s Chuck Mindenhall. “Only good things can happen. Dustin is 100 percent capable, and he’s going to win that fight.”
Poirier, who already held a submission win over Holloway dating back to 2012, looked better than ever in his rematch with “Blessed” at UFC 236. Not only did “Diamond” absorb everything Holloway had to offer over the course of five bloody rounds, but he inflicted more damage to the UFC featherweight champion than we’ve ever seen before.
Brown, who has trained countless UFC champions over the years, believes Poirier’s performance against Holloway will only lead to good things against Khabib.
“Dustin is such a talented guy, super-skilled mentally, physically and technically, and I believe he’s in his absolute prime,” Brown said. “He could have win the title a couple of years ago, now he’s a different animal. I’m guessing, because this happens a lot, winning this title against Max is going to propel him to another level. He thought he was the best in the world, or maybe he knew he was the best in the world, but now he has that title label on him and the confidence will be much higher in him. That’s important.”
With title in hand, Poirier will likely lock horns with Khabib this September in a huge showdown at 155 pounds. If “Diamond” is able to upset “Eagle” and become the undisputed UFC lightweight champion then the sky is truly the limit.