Dustin Poirier is only the second man to ever finish Justin Gaethje via strikes, knocking him out in 2018 after four rounds of back-and-forth action (see it again here). But if “The Diamond” has the chance to fight “The Highlight” again, he would probably take another route.
That’s according to Gaethje himself, who says Poirier would probably walk away from the fight game if he has to face him again in 2022, which is possible if “Diamond” defeats Charles Oliveira at UFC 269 on December 11, 2021.
“I hope Oliveira wins,” Gaethje said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “A part of me thinks — after I fought Dustin Poirier, I went outside and I took 100, 200 pictures and I felt great, not one thought or emotion from that fight am I scared to experience again. I know for a fact when Dustin Poirier has to step in there with me again, he’s going to remember and constantly be analyzing that night. He was not out taking pictures. He was probably in the most pain of his f*cking life,” he added.
“If he doesn’t land the shot in the first round, he knows he’s going to have to go through that again. If he beats Charles Oliveira, I don’t know if he fights me. I think he just walks away, calls it good. So I kind of hope Charles Oliveira wins so I get to fight him March, April, May. If Dustin Poirier wins, I’m going to have to really entice him to f*cking get in there again.”
Gaethje made a case for his second shot at the title by defeating Michael Chandler in an epic back-and-forth “Fight of the Night” at UFC 268 last weekend (Sat., Nov. 6) in New York City (highlights). While UFC has not confirmed that Gaethje would indeed be next, that seems to be the logical step.
Gaethje came up short in his first bid to win UFC gold against Khabib Nurmagomedov after “The Eagle” forced him to tap at UFC 254 over a year ago. Gaethje’s win against Chandler was his first since that crushing defeat, which makes Khabib wonder why he deserves another crack at the title over Islam Makhachev.
Perhaps “The Eagle’s” other teammate, Daniel Cormier, has the answer for that.