Friday, December 9, 2022

Poirier Reveals Why Oliveira Loss Hurt More Than Title Defeat To Khabib

Despite the heartbreak of his 2019 defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov, UFC lightweight Dustin Poirier has revealed why his loss to Charles Oliveira at UFC 269 hurt more.

Ahead of this year’s final pay-per-view, many branded Poirier the “uncrowned champion” and expected “The Diamond” to leave Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena with the 155-pound gold wrapped around his waist. His form had suggested that was a big possibility.

Since his submission setback against “The Eagle,” Poirier had won three straight. Following a decision triumph over Dan Hooker in a 2020 Fight of the Year contender, the Louisianan re-visited his rivalry with 2014 opponent Conor McGregor. After becoming the first man to knock the Irishman out in January this year, Poirier secured the trilogy win when the pair met again at UFC 264 in July.

But when he set his sights back on the belt, it was a familiar story for “The Diamond.” Despite early success, the 32-year-old found himself tapping out in the third round yet again. This time it was a Brazilian underdog on his back, rather than a Dagestani brute.

Poirier: “I Could’ve Done More”

Both of Poirier’s title losses felt like heartbreaking ends to an inspirational journey to the top. But for the former interim champion, one hurt a lot more than the other.

During an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour in the week after his crushing defeat, Poirier detailed the difference between the two championship failings. Against Khabib, the Louisiana native felt he did everything possible to have his hand raised and was simply beaten by the better man. But he was left with a feeling of what could have been against “Do Bronx.”

“In the Khabib fight, I felt like I was bested. I did everything that I could and I lost. This one, I feel like I could’ve done more. And that hurts. That’s something I have to deal with. I could’ve been smarter. I could’ve been more in the moment. I could’ve been more locked in. And I could’ve been the world champion.”

The next step is unclear for Poirier. “The Diamond” has understandably had his motivation dented, and revealed he may never even fight at lightweight again. However, one name that got him excited about the idea of competing again was former foe Nate Diaz.

But despite going back-and-forth on social media and both seeming to agree on a clash for early next year, negotiation issues appear to have derailed the booking for now.

For the time being, at least, it appears Poirier’s mind is set on fun fights, rather than another push for gold.

Do you think UFC 269 was Dustin Poirier’s last chance to become an undisputed champion?