Dustin Poirier fights Charles Oliveira for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight title at UFC 269 on Dec. 11, 2021, and one could argue that if “The Diamond” wins the belt there’s not much else for him to prove in the sport. With Poirier sometimes sounding frustrated with the fight game in post-fight interviews, there’s been growing rumors that he may just hang up the gloves and walk away should he finally attain true undisputed UFC gold.
Not so, according to Poirier himself.
“I’m a fighter,” he said firmly in an interview with Ariel Helwani. “I’m fortunate enough now with this year that I’ve had that I could walk away, it’s a great position to be in. But, these guys deserve ass whoopings, and I’m the guy to give it to them. And we can’t walk away like that.”
One specific person angling for an ass whooping is Justin Gaethje, who thinks he’ll end up facing Poirier for the title soon. While Gaethje hasn’t received the official nod as next No. 1 contender, his “Fight of the Year” against Michael Chandler is one hell of a selling point. Although according to Poirier, fighting like that won’t work against him.
“I think I beat both those guys,” he said. “If they fight me the way they fought that night, I beat both those guys. You have to tighten it up, you have to be more technical. You have to be a thinking man, not just a brute in there. Not just a wrecking ball. Or, you go in there and get matador. And that’s what I would do with those guys if they fought me that way.”
Gaethje recently added to the retirement speculation and implied Poirier wouldn’t be too eager to rematch him. This, even though Poirier knocked out Gaethje in the fourth round the first time they fought back in April 2018.
“I had a great night that night,” Poirier insisted. “I might have had a limp, but I was back at the big AirBnB, we had a house party, I was drinking Modelos. I was fine! He probably doesn’t have any memories going back and looking at the fight because I knocked him out. It’s probably pretty cloudy. I remember the night. It was a pretty great night.
“You know how this game is,” he continued. “It’s enticing, it makes people interested. It’s a hook, he’s hoping I’ll bite on it, beat Oliveira and say I got to give the shot to Gaethje now because he’s running his mouth. That’s the way this game goes. People talk and try to set things up and play the hands that they have and that’s what he’s doing. Good on him. I’m a fan of his. I have nothing bad to say about the guy but I beat him that night in his hometown. What else can I say?”
As for the debate on whether it should be Justin Gaethje or Islam Makhachev fighting for the title next, Poirier had a simple enough solution.
“Maybe Islam needs to face one more top contender and then he’s next,” he suggested. “Maybe Gaethje should fight Islam, that way they settle it. That’s the beautiful thing about fighting, right? Just fight it out.”