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Dustin Poirier on Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje: ‘Justin has to knock him out’

Dustin Poirier has fought the best of the best that the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 155-pound division has to offer. Next on tap competing over the weight class’ crown are two of “The Diamonds’” past foes, Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje.

Oliveira, the surging submission wizard, aims for his second consecutive Lightweight title defense since winning the strap. Gaethje, on the other hand, is getting his second crack at the gold after falling short against Khabib Nurmagomedov in Oct. 2020 (watch highlights). “The Highlight” has since picked up a thrilling unanimous decision victory in a dream fight between himself and Michael Chandler at UFC 268 in Nov. 2021 (watch highlights). And at UFC 274 on May 7, 2022, he gets to try and snap Oliveira’s 10-fight win streak.

“Charles has more ways to win,” Poirier told Inside Fighting (h/t MMA Junkie). “Justin has to knock him out. I think Charles can knock Justin out. Charles can submit him. Charles can win a decision. He has more ways to win. I’m not saying that Gaethje won’t knock him out. Charles is a guy who gets hit a lot. In his last two fights, he’s touched the canvas in both fights, and Gaethje is a guy if he gets you hurt, he usually puts you away. He has big power, so if you’re able to get touched, you might not recover. It’s an interesting fight, but Charles has more ways to win.”

Unfortunately for Poirier, his last time out saw him suffer another title fight setback as Oliveira defeated him via third round rear-naked choke submission at UFC 269 in Dec. 2021 (watch highlights). The Louisiana native’s last loss prior, like Gaethje, came opposite Nurmagomedov and ended via the same exact method.

“I should have done a better job with my footwork,” Poirier said. “Not allow myself to be clinched up as easy and kind of smothered my striking output by getting that close, allowing him to walk forward and just get into that clinch range. Obviously second round, I wouldn’t have given up the round like that, I would have maybe tried to use my jiu-jitsu to sweep or submit him. There’s a bunch of stuff.

“I hit him with some good shots,” he continued. “He was more durable than I thought he was going to be. He stayed in the fight, as he did in his fight before that with Chandler. He got hit with some big shots, went down, almost got finished, and came back to win. Showed the world once again that he has what it takes to be a world champion.”

The 33-year-old Poirier currently awaits his next move, but has been flirting with the idea of taking on Nate Diaz in a 170-pound Welterweight bout. The two were booked to fight in 2018 at UFC 230 until a Poirier hip injury called things off.

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