Ahead of his lightweight clash with Michael Johnson tomorrow night (September 17, 2016), No. 10-ranked Dustin Poirier spoke to FOX Sports to discuss his future in the 155-pound division.
Poirier, a longtime UFC featherweight contender, recently made the jump up in weight to take on Carlos Diego Ferreira after being knocked out by the now featherweight champion Conor McGregor in his last appearance at 145-pounds.
‘The Diamond’s’ undefeated tenure at lightweight has been an impressive one, as he’s managed to fight his way into the top ten of another UFC division. A feat, that according to Poirier, is a prime example of ‘hard work and dedication at its finest’:
“I’ve been fighting for a long time and you don’t accidentally climb your way into the top of two different divisions. This is hard work and dedication at its finest. This is self belief. This is things happening the way they’re supposed to,” Poirier said.
Poirier believes that if he steps into the Octagon with the likes of current UFC lightweight king Eddie Alvarez, he’ll do some heavy damage with his rejuvenated striking power:
“I believe right now if I get in the cage with Eddie Alvarez, I’ll take the belt. I feel like I’m going to be the world champion and it’s going to be soon.
“I can knockout anybody. I’m getting stronger, my technique’s getting better and I feel like I have my power back,” Poirier said. “At 45, I feel like I was hurting guys with those shots but I wasn’t putting them away every time. Now I know if I land a flush shot, these hands will seal the deal and leave a hell of a mess out there.
“I’m having fun again. The story of my last few fights is I’m having fun again, just enjoying this. Going out there and not looking to win on points. I go out there and push the pace and bring the violence.”
While ‘The Diamond’ is riding an impressive win streak, Johnson is currently in a bit of a slump coming in off to losses. Poirier, however, won’t let that fact keep him from taking ‘The Menace’ seriously:
“I was thinking a top five guy but to give him a little bit of credit, I thought he got robbed in that decision (against Beneil Dariush). That was B.S. He hung in there and fought a tough fight against Nate (Diaz) but when he fought Nate I think he was No. 5 or No. 6 and now he’s No. 10,” Poirier said.
“Since that loss, he’s dropped in the rankings but he’s still a dangerous guy. Let’s not forget he has wins over Edson Barboza, Tony Ferguson, two of the top guys in the division right now. But that being said, he’s also lost to guys we’ve never heard of. We’ll see who shows up on Sept. 17.”
Its no secret that both men like to stand and bang when it comes to going to war inside the Octagon, but Poirier thinks he has what it takes to stop Johnson dead in his tracks come fight night:
“When I watch him fight, I see a guy who moves around a lot. A guy who I think I’m going to finish,” Poirier said. “I’ve been working hard all camp and that’s what I expect to do. I feel like I’m better than him in every aspect of the fight. Boxing, if he thinks his boxing is his strong point, this is an uphill battle for him.”
“I’m going to go out there put on a great show, beat Michael Johnson and you don’t win a main event fight and go back to the undercard. You go into bigger and better fights and that’s what I’m on,” Poirier said.
With a win over Johnson, the former 145-pound challenger feels like it is only a matter of time before he gets his shot at the lightweight throne:
“I feel like after this win, one more two more I should be fighting for the belt if not sooner.”
Poirier and Johnson will meet in the main event of UFC Fight Night 94 live on FS1, from the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas tomorrow night (September 17, 2016).