Jerome Miron for USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Poirier knows he’s on the cusp of a lightweight title shot.

The surging veteran believes a win over former champ Eddie Alvarez in the main event of this weekend’s (Sat., July 28, 2018) UFC on FOX 30 from the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary will finally earn him his elusive title shot, a fight he’s been fixated on since making his way to the 155-pound division more than three years ago.

With seven victories in his past eight fights, you’d be hard-pressed to argue with him in that regard, yet anything is certain in the currently in-flux UFC 155-pound title picture. Speaking about his fighting future with ESPN heading into the biggest bout of his career, Poirier admitted that on paper his record would state that he’s earned a title shot, but the insanity of his division has him fighting to prove he’s worthy of a shot at the belt:

“If someone would have asked me three years ago if I would have fought for a belt by now, winning seven of eight, I definitely would have said yes. This division is crazy. After this weekend, when I do get my title shot, nobody can say I didn’t earn it.”

And although he’s correct in stating that the stacked lightweight title picture is unclear right now, Poirier still believes a win over Alvarez, which would give him four straight over former champions, will “one hundred percent” earn him a title shot. “The Diamond” focused on the fact that he’s not just beating these former champs, but finishing them off in brutal displays of violence:

“I’m positive I will get a title shot after this. I am 100 percent positive,” Poirier said. “This will be my fourth fight in a row against a world champion. Alvarez, [Anthony] Pettis, [Justin] Gaethje and Alvarez again.

“And I’m not just beating these guys,” said Poirier, “I’m punishing these guys.”

There’s certainly at least some degree of title implications on the line in Poirier’s main event rematch with Alvarez this weekend, with current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov set to be present at the Canadian event for a Q&A session with fans on weigh-in day. But with former champion Conor McGregor rumored to resolve his assault charges in Brooklyn, NY, tomorrow, it’s plain to see the next shot could go to the Irish superstar.

Still, Poirier insists he won’t fight again in 2018 unless the belt is on the line:

“The only way I’ll fight again this year is if a gold belt is on the line.”

‘The Diamond’ will have to get past Alvarez first, however, and he’s bringing some bad blood into their rematch after the former champion nailed him with an illegal knee that caused their first match-up at UFC 211 to be declared a no contest. He was respectful of his foe at the time, but that dissipated when Alvarez began calling him out on social media:

“I have less respect for him as a person than I did going into the first one,” Poirier said. “When you saw me tell the crowd last year in Dallas to stop booing Eddie, that was real. I thought in the heat of the moment he made a mistake. But the way those Twitter fingers started running after the fight, saying things like I wanted out — come on. Look at what I’ve done in the fights I’ve been in. Why would I want out of a fight that I was punishing you in? The stuff he said really made me lose respect.”