With Khabib Nurmagomedov retired, there’s one man Dustin Poirier thinks would give him the toughest outing.
Former interim lightweight champion Poirier (28-6 MMA, 20-5 UFC) has only lost once in his past 10 outings – a title unification bout to then-champion Nurmagomedov.
He’s projected to challenge new champ Charles Oliveira next, but when asked who would give him the hardest fight at 155 pounds if everyone was at his peak, Poirier’s answer wasn’t the champion.
“For a few years now, I think 155 has been one of, if not the toughest, division in the UFC,” Poirier said in an ESPN+ Q&A session hosted by UFC correspondent Laura Sanko. “It’s been top-heavy for a lot of years, with a lot of contenders waiting for their shot. And now there’s new guys in the mix and it’s growing stronger. But right off the top, I don’t really know. I think Khabib would, but he’s not in the mix right now. Maybe Islam (Makhachev) – similar style.”
Having endured Nurmagomedov’s suffocating pressure in a third-round submission loss at UFC 242, Poirier knows the kind of fight Islam Makhachev (20-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) would bring. Poirier recently said Nurmagomedov’s grappling game was all the hype, and that’s what many see in his protege Makhachev.
“He’s just so advanced,” Poirier said of Nurmagomedov on American Top Team’s Punchin’ In podcast. “And his feet are like hands. His foot sweeps and the way it breaks you down, it’s good. He’s good – so good.
“I got smothered, and my goal was to turn it into a fight. I wanted it to be a fight, and he just smothered me and did what he does and I couldn’t stop it. I’ve been grappling a long time.”
Photos: Dustin Poirier through the years
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