The narrative for Dustin Poirier ahead of his premier UFC title tilt this weekend, is the storm he has had to batten down for and the immense list of challengers he has had to overcome. At UFC 236, Poirier meets featherweight king and former foe Max Holloway for the interim lightweight championship. The Lafayette striker has made some of the most notable improvements in recent memory, evolving into a dangerous adversary for anybody at 155 pounds. The two youngsters first shared the Octagon back in 2012, with a debuting Holloway losing via triangle-armbar in the premier round.
Heavy hands and slick boxing would mean nothing if ‘The Diamond’ didn’t possess an unmatched killer instinct. His ability to stun and then swarm his opponent ahead of a timely finish reminds me of a prime Vitor Belfort, albeit not as violent. Evident during his wins over the game Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez, Poirier picks his shots expertly. Dropping just one loss in three years, Poirier has dispatched four of the best at lightweight since then. Jim Miller was expertly picked apart, before former champion Anthony Pettis was bloodied and battered. ‘Showtime’ eventually tapped to a body triangle in the third round after taking some brutal punishment at the hands of ‘The Diamond’.
Soon after, his biggest Octagon wins to date followed. Former world champions Justin Gaehtje and Eddie Alvarez were next on Poirier’s hitlist. Displaying a remarkable chin and resilience as always, former WSOF gold holder Gaethje finally crumbled in the fourth round after yet another pinpoint precision barrage from Dustin.
When surging contenders Alvarez and Poirier first met at UFC 211, an illegal knee from now ONE FC lightweight Alvarez called a halt to a so far fight of the night contender, the following summer, the pair settled the matter. Poirier again displaying his killer intent and impeccable composure stung Eddie before finishing against the fence, earning his status as a title contender.
Dustin is the heavier hitter when compared with Waianae favorite Holloway an immense volume striker, clearly on display in his sublime victory over then-undefeated challenger Brian Ortega, in what was arguably his most stirring bout for the promotion yet. Poirier has weathered storms before, case in point his original match with Alvarez and Gaethje. ‘Blessed’ creates some puzzling angles, footwork, and combinations, but took some notable shots against José Aldo in their rematch, before the Brazilian’s cardio failed under Holloway’s pressure.