Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight title holder Khabib Nurmagomedov has respect for Dustin Poirier, but he doesn’t plan on taking it easy when they collide.
Nurmagomedov and Poirier are set to collide later this year in a title unification bout. “The Diamond” captured the interim lightweight title last Saturday night, defeating Max Holloway via unanimous decision. While a date hasn’t been confirmed, UFC president Dana White has said he hopes Nurmagomedov can step back inside the Octagon in September.
Khabib Praises Poirier, But Sends A Clear Message
Nurmagomedov appeared on the UFC Saint Petersburg post-fight show. During his appearance, “The Eagle” said Poirier deserves the title unification bout (via Damon Martin):
“I think it was a very good performance from Dustin Poirier. Honestly before the fight, I thought Holloway was going to beat him. This was my prediction when we talk with friends, with father, with team, but he impressed me. Dustin has impressed me. I think he has very good boxing, much better than before. Every fight he becomes stronger, better in boxing on his feet. I think he deserves title shot. He’s already interim lightweight champion, I’m real lightweight champion. We have to fight. Now we’re working on this.”
Nurmagomedov would go on to say that once the Octagon doors close, he has one mission:
“A long time I follow him, he has a very good background, he has a very good ground game, not bad. He has a good striking game. I follow him a long time and versus me, I think I have to maul him like I do with everybody. This is what I have to do. I respect him like a fighter, like a human but when we go to the cage, I have to maul this guy. This is what I want and right now I am focused on September. Five months before fight and I think it’s going to be a very good fight with him.”