Dustin Poirier has had a crazy road to get to a title shot. The 30-year-old had fought the very best of both the featherweight and lightweight divisions before getting an interim lightweight title shot against Max Holloway at UFC 236.
Poirier would go on to defeat Holloway for the second time in his career that night in Atlanta. To see ‘The Diamond’ finally capture UFC gold was a surreal feeling for American Top Team owner, Dan Lambert.
“We liked the fight going in but I don’t blame the oddsmakers or anyone thinking Max was going to win,” Lambert said to BJPENN.com. “The run he has been on is incredible. When was the last time he lost a fight? He was only getting better and better. He was making it look easy against crazy good guys. We thought Dustin was the bigger hitter and people underestimated his cardio. We thought he could take the fight where he needed to take it.
“Not a lot of guys are that in the gym that I would be happier for. Poirier has been through a lot for a long period of time,” he added. “To take the path he took to keep chugging along and then to get what he got to beat a guy like Holloway was pretty cool.”
One of the biggest fight of the year
Now, with the win, the expectation is that Dustin Poirier will fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight title at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi. With both men holding titles, and the star power they both have, Lambert expects it to be one of the bigger fights the promotion puts on this year.
“It is a huge fight. Khabib has become a star. He has that monster win over Conor McGregor and he is a beast,” he said. “You have the number one fighter in the world, you have a guy with an interim title. They are going to go at it. It is a big fight for Dustin and a big fight for the UFC. We are excited about it.”
Although Nurmagomedov has only lost one round in his entire career and is 27-0, Lambert believes there is a clear path to victory for Poirier. And, that is taking the champ into the later rounds.
“Khabib hasn’t lost many rounds or many seconds of a fight,” Lambert explained. “If Dustin is standing in front of a tired Khabib in the fourth round like Al Iaquinta was, Khabib is in for a world of shit.”
Who do you think wins the fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/15/2019.