‘Get your sh*t together’: Dustin Poirier fires warning at Khabib after claiming interim UFC title

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Dustin Poirier will be next in line for UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov after he defeated featherweight king Max Holloway at UFC 236 to claim interim gold and set up a September meeting with the Russian.

Poirier was the unanimous victor on all three scorecards (49-46) in the headliner, neutralizing Holloway’s walk-forward style of volume striking from the off and rarely affording any openings for the usually clinical Hawaiian to capitalize on.

He set his stall out early, clipping Holloway on several occasions in the opening stanza. Poirier had been vocal to the media this week saying that he couldn’t afford Holloway to gain the sort of momentum which has earned him 13 straight UFC wins, his answer for which was sitting down on his punches as Holloway blitzed forward. 

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Poirier connected cleanly on several strikes on the opening two rounds, hurting the notoriously iron-chinned Holloway on more than one occasion but Holloway found some of that momentum in the third round. 

In truth though, Poirier’s added experience at 155lbs proved the difference. Both fighters are significantly improved from their last meeting in 2012, though Poirier’s four-year tenure in the lightweight division since his own move from featherweight was worn on his frame as he appeared a weight class heavier than the featherweight champion.

Both fighters were able to connect on each other, but the story of Poirier’s extra ballast – which also led to recent TKO wins against massive punchers Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje – was worn on Holloway’s face, as cuts and swelling accumulated as the rounds progressed.

By the time 25 minutes elapsed it was clear that Poirier had taken that next step in his career and next up for him will be a showdown with undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, likely in Abu Dhabi in September. 

The Russian will present a wildly different puzzle to that of Holloway but as ‘The Diamond’ proved in Atlanta late on Saturday night, he is an adept problem solver.

I feel like I’m in a dream right now. I just beat one of the best pound for pound int he world. To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best,” Poirier said after the fight.

And when asked if he had any messages for his next opponent, Poirier’s rallying call was clear.

In the words of my brother Daniel Cormier, get your sh*t together young man. We got a belt to fight for.”


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