Dustin Poirier reveals his struggles with mental health ahead of lightweight title fight at UFC 302

Dustin Poirier reveals his struggles with mental health ahead of lightweight title fight at UFC 302

Set to make his 30th walk to the Octagon on June 1, few fighters boast the kind of resume that Dustin Poirier has amassed after more than two decades in the sport.

He’ll attempt to “finish his story” when he headlines UFC 302 in Newark, New Jersey as he steps into the main event spotlight for a lightweight world title clash with reigning and defending champion Islam Makhachev.

Win or lose, this could very well be Poirier’s last stand after spending years sacrificing not just his body, but his mind.

Dustin Poirier

During an appearance on The Fight Bananas Show, ‘The Diamond’ shared some insight into the mental challenges he’s faced since his brutal second-round knockout at the hands of Justin Gaethje last year.

“First of all, head trauma is not good for you – that’s a big part of it,” said the fan-favorite lightweight, explaining how people are quick to forget about career-defining achievements once you suffer a defeat in the UFC Octagon.

“I’ve given this sport so much, not only physically but with my time and focus. Being a fighter, you have to focus on you [but] I want to be with my family, focus on my daughter, my wife, my foundation, my businesses… A lot of stuff gets put on hold to chase dreams.”

“Putting so much into a result or outcome and then your life’s kind of revolving around that night – it feels like everything you’ve done in your whole career; people look at you on that single night performance and forget about everything else, all the mountains you’ve already climbed” (h/t Bloody Elbow).

Gaethje KOs Dustin Poirier

Dustin Poirier is mentally prepared for whatever happens at UFC 303

Poirier went on to add that while mixed martial arts is an undeniably physical sport, there is a strong mental health aspect of it that often gets overlooked by fans and pundits.

“We focus so much on the physical part of this [sport] but fighting is so mental [and] fighting is just a portion of our life — we have a whole other life after fighting and outside of fighting. I was just down on myself, but focusing on my mindset, talking to people, having my wife by my side, having good friends back home, I went to counseling weekly.”

Dustin Poirier

Already feeling like a much different person following his sequel scrap with Gaethje, Poirier hopes that he can implement some of the lessons he’s learned when he steps into the cage with the ‘Dagestani Destroyer’ next month.

“Even coming into this fight here on June 1, I’m trying not to put so much — of course, I want to be world champion, but nothing is guaranteed…I do feel honestly that I’m going to be world champion in a month [and] words become things. But I have to be content with whatever happens because that’s just how life goes.”