Dustin Poirier believes his upcoming fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov is very similar to Rocky IV. There, Rocky Balboa went to Russia to take on Ivan Drago, the heavyweight Russian. In Poirier’s case, he is going to Abu Dhabi to take on undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov where the Russian will have the Muslim crowd behind him.
“This is real, I’m a world champion,” Poirier said to ESPN. “As is he. This is a super fight to me. That’s how I feel, that’s what this feels like to me. We’re going to a sold-out arena they’re building as we speak in Abu Dhabi, the middle of the desert, and princes and sheiks will be there. It’s crazy. It’s a Rocky movie.”
Dustin Poirier believes Khabib Nurmagomedov can be beaten by anybody
Just like the Rocky movie, Dustin Poirier expects the same result where Rocky went in and beat the Russian in his territory. He knows other fighters have made mistakes against Nurmagomedov and knows he can’t just focus on defending the takedowns. Rather, he says he needs to use his strengths and fight his game plan and make the champ adjust, rather than him doing the adjusting, which most fighters have had to do.
“A lot of guys he’s fought have the skills to beat him,” Poirier said. “Fighting’s a crazy thing, it takes one mistake. He can be beaten by anybody. It’s just as camps going on for me, I’m starting to realize things and say, ‘Well I wonder if they made this mistake’. I’ve only been in camp for a week. But, I’m noticing I’m paying a lot of attention to specific positions and the small details in those positions. I can see how somebody fighting a dominant guy who’s never been beat like Khabib could get not overwhelmed, but look too far in the details of defense and staying safe and position.
“It’s a ying-yang, man. You got to have a balance. If you just worry about that, you lose what you do the best.”
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/17/2019.