Dustin Poirier Went Through Anxious Phase Before Earning His Title Shot Against Islam Makhachev

Dustin Poirier is all set for his last hurray as he faces Islam Makhachov in a few days. Despite their fight happening due to UFC scheduling issues, it certainly garnered the hype and praise that a title fight deserves. That said, there were a lot of questions about Poirier and his mental state in the lead up to the fight.

For those unaware, Dustin Poirier takes on Islam Makhachev in the main event of UFC 302. Live from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, “The Diamond” looks to end his career on a high after dethroning the UFC lightweight king . Although many had their gripes and complaints about Poirier getting the title shot, subsequent weeks saw an outpouring of overwhelming support in his favor.

At the same time, there are growing concerns regarding his mental resources before the most important conflict. After all, “The Diamond” has repeatedly mentioned that win or lose, his next fight will be his last. Thus, it questions how firm his decision is and how ready he will be to face adversity during the battle. Most notably, UFC legend and friend of Poirier, Daniel Cormier also expressed his concern about the same.

Dustin Poirier talks about his mental state ahead of Islam Makhachev’s title fight

All things considered, it’s not hard to see where Dustin Poirier is coming from. Having been in the fight game for about 15 years now, he has a lot of mileage under his belt. Thus, continuing to fight at the highest level, considering all the dangers that come with it, is not a wise choice for any fighter. Along with that, his recent career losses haven’t left him too inspired either.

Prior to his win against Benoit Saint-Denis at UFC 299, Poirier was on the receiving end of a brutal head-kick KO at the hands of Justin Gaethje. Naturally, the loss left him in a bad place mentally with a lot of soul searching to do. On the UFC 302 Countdown, Poirier finally opened up about what he went through:

“After the last (Justin) Gaethje fight, I was in a dark place mentally. Because I was kind of at a crossroads, 35 years old, I was beat, how am I going to come back, are people going to dump me, where I am in my career?”

“It’s been some of the hardest months I’ve ever had in my life. I just took a deep look at myself and when I fell short of greatness when I set this big goal and I don’t accomplish it, I just set another big goal and immediately get back to work.”

So, he jumped at the chance to fight down the rankings against a dangerous, live dog in Saint-Denis and despite some early adversity, came back to deliver a thunderous KO to the Frenchman. Seeing as it elevated him to title contender status for the third time in his career, Dustin Poirier is locked and loaded to make the best of it, before possibly riding off into the sunset.

Mike Brown reveals the game plan for Dustin Poirier and his improvements

Earlier we saw all the work that Dustin Poirier did for the preparation of this fight. Understanding that Khabib and co. will take much of their fight into 2019 and set up Islam Makhachev with a similar game plan, Poirier and head coach Mike Brown also have something special cooking.

For the initial part of his camp, Dustin trained alongside fellow lightweight contender Mateusz Gamrot, who is known for his wrestling skills. As such, refining his own skill in that field along with counter-stratifying what the enemy camp may be up to could give Poirier the edge in this one. As such, Mike Brown also hinted at learning from past mistakes and improving on them during this camp:

“Khabib showed us where we had some holes and we worked on it and those holes are patched. We are working on fighting back and will recover, that is no secret. Dustin will get rid of him.”

“This is just going to be the cherry on top of an incredible career, one of the best careers I think the sport has ever seen. Nobody deserves more, nobody has paid the dues more than Dustin Poirier. It’s his time.”

More than anything, Dustin Poirier seems to be in great health both physically and mentally leading up to this one. Despite the tall tasks ahead of him, the Louisiana native remains focused and confident that he can knock out Islam Makhachev. While the likes of Michael Bisping and former foe Conor McGregor have encouraged him to do the same, only time will tell if Dustin is able to live up to his legacy or not.

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