Dustin Poirier is going into hostile territory to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov. There, at UFC 242 he will head to Abu Dhabi to take on the Russian in front of the Muslim crowd.
For the interim champion, he believes this is very similar to Rocky IV where Rocky Balboa went to Russian to take on the local fighter in Ivan Drago.
“This is real, I’m a world champion,” Poirier said to ESPN (as transcribed by BJPENN). “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.”
Just like Balboa, Poirier believes he will get a win in the hostile territory. He knows he has to fight his fight and believes anyone can beat Khabib.
“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