Fighter of the Week: Dustin Poirier

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Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier
Pro Record: 22-5-1
Association: American Top Team 2012-present / Gladiators Academy 2007-2012
Weight Class: Lightweight/Featherweight

Biggest win – Max Holloway
Biggest loss – Conor McGregor

When I think about fighters who fly under the radar and maybe don’t get quite the recognition they deserve, Dustin Poirier comes to mind. It wasn’t until he said it in his post-fight interview in the Octagon that I realized his dominant win over Anthony Pettis at UFC Fight Night 120 was his nineteenth fight with the organization. That’s nineteen fights in seven years. When Poirier says he’s been a “company man”, he isn’t lying. Of those nineteen fights, seven of them have finished with a bonus, which ranks him tied for 17th in that category in UFC history. His 2012 submission loss to Chan Sung Jung (“The Korean Zombie”) was the ESPN and Sherdog ‘fight of the year’ and one of the best fights you’ll ever see. He has a first round submission win over UFC Featherweight champion, Max Holloway. Of his twenty-two wins, all but five have come by finish, including twelve 1st round KO/TKO’s. I’m not sure what this guy had to do to get our attention, but he has it now. He is Takeover’s Fighter of the Week.

Poirier comes from humble beginnings in his hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana. He says he is a born fighter, starting by beating up other kids in the trailer park where he lived. When asked if he went to school he said he has a doctorate from the school of hard knocks. To get extra cash he would collect aluminum cans and pick pecans. To find a ‘healthier’ outlet for his aggression he started to look into boxing, before realizing there was an MMA gym (Gladiators Academy) in his area. He went one day to check it out and was hooked. His first amateur fight would come soon after in 2007 and he would go 8-1 and hold two belts at 155 lbs. in the amateur ranks, capped off by winning an 8-man tournament that lasted over the course of two days in Iowa.

Poirier would begin his professional career in 2009 and start off 7-0 in different regional organizations. He would get a last minute call to face MMA and UFC veteran Danny Castillo at WEC 50 in his WEC debut, suffering the first loss of his career by unanimous decision. Poirier would later say that training partner and coach Tim Credeur would be the person to give him his nickname, “The Diamond”, before his first WEC fight. He would bounce back in his next fight for the WEC at WEC 52 with a TKO victory over Zack Micklewright. Within a month of that fight, the UFC President Dana White announced the WEC would merge with the UFC, particularly for the lower weight classes, and Poirier would fulfill one of his goals of becoming a UFC fighter as all WEC fighters were transferred.

Poirier’s UFC career would start off with a bang. Poirier would make his featherweight debut with his new company facing #1 contender at the time, Josh Grispi, at UFC 125. Champion Jose Aldo was forced to withdrawal from the title fight due to a back injury and Poirier was slotted as his replacement. Poirier would win the fight by unanimous decision. Poirier would then reel off three more victories in his new weight class, including his biggest win of all, a submission win over Max Holloway at UFC 143. The win would earn him a submission of the night bonus, his first bonus with the UFC. Next up would be his epic fight with Jung which they both headlined at UFC on Fuel TV 3. Jung stepped in a 3-1 underdog to Poirier, but came out a victor as this fight had it all… flying knees, hooks, elbows, uppercuts, submission attempts, and ended with Poirier falling in the fourth round to one of his own favorite submissions, D’Arce choke. Not all was lost for Poirier as he earned one half of the Fight of the Night bonus.

Poirer would return to the winning column with a submission win over Jonathan Brookins and then fall again to Cub Swanson before rallying off three straight wins to setup a fight with “The Notorious” Conor McGregor. Coming into this fight at UFC 178, McGregor was still just a challenger, still a couple of fights away from a title shot. A win here would cement one of them as a true contender. Of course, we all know the result and the subsequent direction this fight took both fighters. McGregor would win by TKO in the first round and go on to win the interim title just two fights later. Poirier would make the move back to lightweight.

Poirier’s return to his natural weight class has shown mixed results. After the McGregor loss, he opened with a four-fight win streak, including two more bonuses. He would fall to Michael Johnson by KO in the main event of UFC Fight Night 94, once again sending him down the ranks of the division. He would follow that up with a win over Jim Miller in a back and forth fight at UFC 208 and a controversial no-contest against Eddie Alvarez, where Poirier rocked Alvarez but Alvarez landed two illegal knees to force referee Herb Dean to call of the fight. This setup his most recent win against Anthony Pettis at UFC Fight Night 120. In the event headliner it was all Poirier, who was able to take down Pettis with ease forcing his opponent to scrambles and submission attempts before giving in to a rib injury (broken rib) and tapping. During the post-fight press conference Poirier said; “I think it was a broken man more than a broken rib, that’s my thought on it”. Whatever caused the end, Poirier was the clear winner throughout and this win sets him up for another potential run at the elusive title shot.

Our own Keith Shillan likes Poirier to get exactly what he called for in the winner of Alvarez-Gaethje. (http://themmatakeover.com/matchmaker-ufc-norfolk-fighters/). Clearly, Poirier wants the winner to be Alvarez as he has unfinished business with him since their controversial fight. What do you think, Takeover fans?

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