Paid in Full. The mantra incoming UFC 257 headliner, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier beats his drum to. Looking to right a six-year-old wrong this Saturday night in Abu Dhabi, the Lafayette bruiser welcomes past rival, ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor in a potential lightweight title eliminator.
Spoils are massive for the victor, particularly if either shine, with current undisputed titleholder, Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov dangling the carrot of a potential return if he witnesses “something spectacular” from the UFC’s pay-per-view comeback. McGregor has predicted the shots he needs to land will do so inside the opening-minute, while Poirier has himself welcomed a “blood and guts” war with his past opponent.
Eager for a battle of attrition, the American Top Team staple has made remarkable alterings to his approach, embarking on a fantastic run of his own following his UFC 178 knockout defeat to McGregor — which also spelt his final featherweight foray.
Involved in his fair share of firefights since then, the Louisiana native has featured in entertaining clashes against the likes of former world champions, Anthony Pettis, Eddie Alvarez, and Justin Gaethje — and in his most recent Octagon outing, lodged a 2020 Fight of the Year candidate with a June unanimous decision triumph over co-headliner, Dan ‘The Hangman’ Hooker.
Welcoming another drawn-out battle, Poirier spoke with MMA Junkie reporter, Mike Bohn this afternoon, detailing how while he believes McGregor is dangerous, he’s made the required adjustments to his overall defence to prevent history repeating itself.
“When we’re dry, early, he (Conor McGregor) has all the pop and spring still in his step,” Poirier said. “He’s very dangerous. Good thing it’s a twenty-five-minute fight, and I feel like I’ve matured and developed my skills enough to be in the right moments and take the right chances and not put myself in harm’s way right off the bat.”
Scheduled for a five-round main event, Poirier feels like the longer the pairing lasts come fight night, it benefits him.
“I feel like the better fighter wins in the longer fights,” Poirier said. “Anybody can get hurt early or submitted early in a fight. The more a fight blossoms and unfolds, the better fighter usually rises up and I just want to show that I’m the better fighter. … Those later rounds, I get going. I’m sure Conor’s (McGregor) made adjustments. He has slowed down in the later rounds, but I think the longer this fight goes, the better it plays out for me.“
With the prospect of a rematch against Khabib awaiting the victor, Poirier has plans to earn just that — defeat McGregor and square off in another re-run, this time against the champion.
“The plan is to beat Conor McGregor by any means necessary: Blood and guts and fight for the world title again.“