UFC 242: Will Dustin Poirier Take The 0 From Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Record?
Not only has Khabib Nurmagomedov never been defeated, he's dominated nearly ever man he's faced in the Octagon. But, could Dustin Poirier shock the world today and grab the UFC's lightweight crown?
As UFC 242 arrives, Dustin Poirier is a sizeable underdog heading into his fight today with Khabib Nurmagomedov. But, could the surging lightweight become the first man to defeat the galaxy class grappler in the cage? And end Khabib’s reign?
Poirier’s underdog status
The consensus heading into UFC 242 is that Nurmagomedov will emerge from the card still holding the lightweight title. After all, in Khabib you have a fighter who has gone 27-0 to date in MMA action, and who really, has dominated most of the UFC fights he’s been in. To date, no one has really had any answers for his relentless takedowns and feared top game.
Although Conor McGregor took Poirier out back in 2014, and at featherweight, Khabib’s submission win over McGregor likely plays some role in “The Diamond’s” underdog status. Further, Poirier was taken out by Michael Johnson in 2016, who Kabib also tapped out later that same year.
If you look at the betting lines for UFC 242, Poirier is the underdog with odds in the +295 to +380 range.
Mike Brown’s comments about Poirier being the underdog
Clearly UFC vet and American Top Team coach Mike Brown isn’t fazed by Poirier’s underdog status. Recently the renowned coach spoke with MMA Fighting. While discussing the fact Khabib will likely have the Abu Dhabi crowd behind him, as well as Poirier’s underdog status, he said this:
“I really don’t think that stuff matters too much. At the end of the day two guys are going to step in a cage and it’s going to be locked. They’re going to be the ones fighting so the people in the crowd really don’t matter. In a weird kind of way for some fighters, I myself would like the feeling of being the underdog; it’s a bit motivating, it’s a bit challenging. It makes you fight even harder. There’s more pressure to be the guy who is the fan favorite. Everybody is there to see them, everybody expects them to win. There’s more pressure there than being on the other side of the coin where they’re against you and they don’t think much of you. Only good things can happen because Dustin is super talented and he’s as good as it gets.”
It’s certainly true that Poirier really has nothing to lose in this fight. Most people don’t expect him to win. But, can the rugged vet pull off the upset?
While talking about Poirier’s preparation and whether he can deal with Khabib’s feared wrestling, Brown said this:
“It’s a strong wrestling style with great conditioning, but we’ve seen similar styles in different weight classes, like Kyoji Horiguchi and Darrion Caldwell and Jorge Masvidal and Ben Askren. These are all very recent fights and all the fights were different, but it was that strong wrestling style that they were fighting,” Brown said.
“Of course, you’re going to want to stay out of some troublesome areas, but you don’t want to abandon what got you to the dance—you’ve got to get him to adjust to you…”
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If you’ve followed Poirier’s recent run up the lightweight ranks, then you know he’s resilient, has a ton of heart, and he hits hard. He’s also demonstrated he’s no slouch when it comes to takedown defense. So, to outright dismiss his chances of beating Khabib is ridiculous. Of course he can win.
But, when you consider what Khabib has showcased so far in the Octagon, and how dominant his wrestling has been, one shouldn’t bet the farm on Poirier winning.