Dustin Poirier once again climbed to the summit of the Lightweight division and challenged for the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 155-pound title. And despite coming closer than ever to winning the belt, “The Diamond” went down in defeat to Charles Oliveira at UFC 269, getting subbed out in round three to a rear-naked choke (watch highlights here).
With tears in his eyes, Poirier stepped onto the podium at the UFC 269 post-fight press conference and discussed the difficult loss.
“It sucks, man,” Poirier said. “I worked hard to get back here to fight for another world title. Got choked out again. Yeah, I’m just heartbroken, really.”
As for what surprised Dustin as the fight went on?
“His durability,” he said. “He wasn’t crazy strong. Obviously, I knew his jiu jitsu was the best, some of the best. I mean, the most submissions in UFC coming into this fight. That’s kind of the reason I didn’t go crazy and try to sweep and try to get up in that second round because I figured, like I said leading into this, I’d rather lose the round than give up my back and lose the fight trying to get back up. But he ended up getting onto my back regardless of that. Guy’s good, you know? He’s the champ.
“Same thing with Khabib, there’s such a small room for error in these kind of fights,” he continued. “I felt good. After the first round sitting on my stool going into the second, drinking water and thinking, ‘I’m going to be the world champion tonight.’ It’s such a crazy thing that we do.”
After that, Poirier ruminated on the crazy five-year journey he’s had and how tough it’s been to chase his dream of becoming a UFC champion.
“Like I’ve been saying all week, nothing I’ve done on this journey has been in vain,” he said. “Everything me and my family has is because of fighting. A lot of education in my life is from these moments, learning about myself. It just sucks, man. I really worked hard and sacrificed a lot. Put myself in a position where I thought I was going to be the world champion. And I knew I was either going to come out here and be the world champion, or fail daring greatly. And sometimes this is what happens.”
As for the future, Poirier doesn’t sound done with fighting at all.
“I think there’s fights at 155 and Welterweight still for me,” Poirier said. “I just don’t want to think about who or what’s next. It’s been a crazy year for me, three big fights. I’ll just go home with my family. I’m healthy, they’re healthy. Like I said, man: I’m not a stranger to this position. Nobody wants to be used to losing, but I’m used to learning. It is what it is, that’s the fight game. Try not to sit up here at another press conference and cry in front of you guys, but I’m going to continue to do what I do. Be a father, try to be a beacon of light, keep grinding.”
Asked if this loss ruined a big year that started with two massive wins over Conor McGregor, Poirier shook his head.
“It ruins the dream outcome that I had to forever be a world champion after tonight,” he said. “But nah, the year isn’t ruined. It’s just an opportunity I had. The opportunity is ruined. And that’s all right. That’s what it is. I’ll look in the mirror like a man.
“I can do anything I put my mind to,” he said regarding another run at the 155-pound belt. “I can fight for another belt. I can go on another streak. I can claw and climb. Get back to wherever I want to be. It’s just ... do I want to? That’s the question I have to look in the mirror and answer. Do I want to do it again, do I want to go down that road again. And that answer will come in the next couple days, next couple of weeks. Just have to let this pass and see what’s next for me.
“But, if it’s in my heart and that’s what I want to do, I’ll be back in here fighting for another world title,” he concluded.
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