Dustin Poirier rarely fails to deliver inside the Octagon, and Saturday night was no exception.
“The Diamond” engaged in a memorable battle with former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in the UFC Fight Night 120 headliner at the Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va., winning via submission 2:08 in to the third round. Poirier made things really difficult for Pettis in round two, when he opened multiple cuts on Pettis’ face with elbows from top position. From there, the bout became a bloody mess, but the Milwaukee native fought admirably in spite of the crimson mask that was impeding his vision.
“It was pretty gross. I could smell the blood. It was pouring out of his face,” Poirier said on Fox Sports 1. “I was surprised he pulled his will together and got back on top a few times. It was crazy. We were scrambling all over. It was a lot of fun.”
Round two brought numerous grappling exchanges and transitions, but Poirier put a final stamp on the fight in the third stanza when he trapped Pettis in a body triangle from the back and then rolled into mount when the Roufusport product attempted to turn. Moments later, Pettis was forced to tap out.
“It was weird. I thought I was going to get the head-and-arm or rear-naked choke. He was hurt and I felt the power leave him. You know the point in a fight when a guy gets broken,” Poirier said. “I do that to a lot of these guys. I’m a nasty dude. I love this. This is what I live for. The talking, calling people out and acting crazy? That’s not what I do. I fight.”
After vanquishing Pettis, Poirier believes he still has some unfinished business to handle with Eddie Alvarez. Their UFC 211 matchup ended in a no contest after Alvarez landed a pair of accidental illegal knees in the second stanza of their May 13 bout. Prior to that, Poirier appeared to be on the verge of a finish in the first round, but Alvarez was able to survive.
“That was an easy fight. That’s easy money,” Poirier said of Alvarez. “That’s another win and two more checks in the bank.”
Alvarez is scheduled to face former WSOF champ Justin Gaethje at UFC 218 on Dec. 2. If Alvarez comes up short, Porier would gladly face Gaethje instead.
“It’d be another bloodbath, another ‘Fight of the Night,’ another main event,” Poirier said. “That’s what fans want to see. Those are the fights that I want to be part of.”
In his last eight Octagon appearances – all of which have come at lightweight – Poirier has tasted defeat just once. Still he’s well aware that a title shot requires a little more than just in-cage performance these days.
“I don’t know. I probably have to start talking crap and writing speeches and going crazy on social media,’ he said. “That’s what it seems like nowadays you have to do to get a title shot.”
Regardless, Poirier thinks he has cemented his spot as one of the top lightweights in the promotion.
“I think I’m there now. This is my 21st fight with the company. Since I’ve been 20 years old I’ve been fighting in the company, fighting the best guys in the world,” he said. “I’ve had a few stumbles, but I have staying power. I’m not going nowhere. There’s not a fight of mine that you don’t want to see. I think if I keep doing what I’m doing you have no choice but to respect it.”