Just a few months away, former unofficial ‘Most Violent” champion Justin Gaethje will take on Dustin Poirier in April. People are already talking about this fight like it is going to be a Fight of the Night, maybe even a Fight of the Year contender. If Gaethje’s last fight with Eddie Alvarez is of any indication, it definitely could be. Poirier was on his way to the same nominations, had his fight with Alvarez not ended with illegal blows. Unable to earn retribution, he’ll look to leapfrog Alvarez to a title shot with a win over the former WSOF lightweight champ.
“With Justin Gaethje, there are two things that are going to happen with this guy. Either, he’s doubting himself after his first loss and his first time getting finished, or he’s going to be focused on being the best he can be when he comes back. I’m prepared for either. I’m expecting Justin to go back to the drawing board and maybe use less of his brawling style and use more of the wrestling that people forgot that he had and try and try to become a complete fighter. I’m preparing for the best guy ever. […] “That’s all I’m focused on, it will be three former world champions that I’ve fought in a row in my last three fights and that’s all I’m focused on.”
— UFC (@ufc) January 26, 2018
“Defeat motivates a lot of guys and I’m one of the guys it does that to. I take pride in sliding by these guys and being happy to hang with these guys, but punishing these guys, outclassing these guys and deep in my heart I feel I’m going to finesse Justin Gaethje and it’s going to be another beautiful performance. I”m going to tell you right now what’s going to happen. I’m going to beat Justin Gaethje, Eddie [Alvarez]’s going to play the waiting game and try to get a big fight and I’m going to pass him up. I’m going to get a shot at the title, that’s what is going to happen.” — Justin Gaethje speaking to MMA Junkie radio as transcribed by MMA NYTT.
The only fighters above Dustin Poirier are interim champ Tony Ferguson, challenging contender Khabib Nurmagomedov, Edson Barboza and former opponent Alvarez himself. An impressive win over Gaethje may very well give him exactly what he wants. Potentially stacking two wins over two former world champions isn’t too shabby either. Could we see Poirier fighting for the UFC lightweight title before 2018 is up? We’ll just have to wait and see how this whole divisional chaos plays out.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/30/2018.