UFC 242: Dustin Poirier Outlines Lessons Khabib Nurmagomedov Has Yet to Learn
Khabib Nurmagomedov may be undefeated and has one of the greatest resumes in the sport. But, according to Dustin Poirier, he's learned from lessons that the lightweight has yet to take.
Dustin Poirier’s has been defeated several times in his career, and the most recent took place in 2016. But, according to the UFC’s interim lightweight champ, those losses have provided him with pivotal lessons that Khabib Nurmagomedov has yet to learn.
Poirier’s run up the lightweight ranks
After Poirier was quickly taken out by Conor McGregor in 2014, “The Diamond” decided to move up from featherweight and return to the lightweight division. Poirier proceeded to rattle off four straight wins, but in 2016, he was quickly knocked out by Michael Johnson.
If some people wrote Poirier off as a contender at that juncture, they have been demonstrably proven wrong. Since the loss, Poirier has gone undefeated in six straight bouts, and this past April, he defeated Max Holloway to win the interim lightweight title. As a result, he’ll face the champ Nurmagomedov this Saturday at UFC 242.
Poirier’s take on his defeats
In Nurmagomedov, Poirier will face a man who has won all 27 of his pro-MMA bouts to date. It’s an accomplishment that’s rarely seen in MMA, especially when a fighter is competing at the highest levels of the sport. But, while talking to fans and media recently, Poirier had this interesting take on his record, versus Khabib’s (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“I’ve had naysayers my whole life and (have) overcome the odds,” Poirier said. “But I have a solid team around me, I feel good, and I’m just in the moment, appreciative of the opportunity and will not let it slip through my fingers…”
“I’ve had lessons in losses and picking myself off the ground. Being undefeated is incredible. It’s hard to do, especially against the competition he’s faced. But I’ve learned lessons through trial, through error and triumph that he’s never learned yet. There’s something about picking yourself up off the ground time and time again and still chasing your dreams.
“I just can’t be broken. I will not be broken. I’m here to make history. I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face. Saturday night I’m going out there to do something that’s never been done, and I’m honoring it and respecting it.”
It’s an interesting point. Khabib hasn’t had to deal with that much adversity in many of his UFC fights, because he’s been so dominant. The aforementioned Johnson appeared to land some big punches early on against Khabib, but the vaunted grappler kept coming and scored the submission win. Poirier, meanwhile, has had to battle back from very tough moments during fights and afterward.
Nurmagomedov and his camp, however, would likely argue that Khabib has had to deal with adversity in training, sparring and during his decorated Sambo career. Khabib is also coming off a dominant win over Conor McGregor, in what was the biggest fight in MMA history. The fight was also extremely personal for the champion, due to the bitter rivalry that grew between the two leading up to the fight.
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Can Poirier pull off the upset Saturday at UFC 242? And hand Nurmagomedov his first pro defeat?