ATLANTA – Nobody has been able to solve the puzzle that is the UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov. But new champion Dustin Poirier thinks it's him.
When asked why, the new UFC interim lightweight champion, told MMA Junkie: "Grit. Determination. The right amount of crazy. Self-confidence. All it takes to be a champion, I have that.
After a brave victory over Max Holloway (20-5 MMA, 16-5 UFC), a man with iron jaws, it's hard to disagree. In 40 professional and amateur fights, Poirier (25-5 MMA, 17-4 UFC) said he had only left the cage twice with painful hands, and that the pay-per-view head -view at State Farm Arena in Atlanta was part of it.
Of course, not everyone was convinced by Poirier's performance. On Twitter, Nurmagomedov (27-0 MMA, 11-0 UFC) qualified the main match of UFC 236 for a draw, although he still deserved the title of new Interim Champion and S & # 39; 39, is commended for a fight in September.
Poirier could have applauded in return, but he was rather concerned about his impressions on scoring.
"I did not know," he says. "My boxing coach said I was going into the fifth round while I was sitting on the stool." He said, "If you come out victorious in this round, you're the world champion. "and I won the fifth round, I feel.
"But I did not know. When you're in a fight like this, you hurt yourself and you hurt him, there's blood everywhere, it's high, it's low, I do not know. "
What is indisputable is that Poirier has managed to climb to the top after years of ups and downs as featherweight and lightness. On the threshold of a title, he will have the chance to win his greatest distinction to date and claim his place in the history of the UFC if he manages to beat Nurmagomedov.
He may have to travel to Abu Dhabi to do this if the information on the planned combat location is verified, but that does not bother him too much. A September calendar presents no immediate concern; he said his hands and an angry bicep were his only injuries in the fight against Holloway.
"Honestly, I did not have the time to digest that and think about those ideas," said Poirier about a schedule for the title unifier. "There was some discussion about this, the one who won this fight was going to fight (Nurmagomedov), but I did not think so far, I knew that I had my hands full with Max, I'm going to start thinking about it. and we'll see, but I do not know what's going to happen. "
UFC President, Dana White, felt that Holloway should return to the featherweight division where he holds a belt, but after beating him a second time, Poirier said he would welcome with pleasure the Hawaiian champion in the cage sometime later.
"My next fight must be for a fight of unification," he said. "But I love Max. I will fight him five more times. "
For full coverage of UFC 236, see the UFC Events section of the site.