All eyes will be on Abu Dhabi when September 7 rolls around, as Dustin Poirier steps up to contest dominant lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in a highly anticipated UFC 242 battle. Both men have been on impressive runs of form in their own respective careers in the organisation in recent years and all roads now lead to the United Arab Emirates for this blockbuster showdown.
Poirier has become one of the most impressive fighters in the organisation in recent years since moving back up the weight classes from featherweight to lightweight, where he is flourishing and enjoying a rampant run of form. The 30-year-old American claimed the interim lightweight belt when he outpointed featherweight kingpin Max Holloway in April this year. That incredible bout was deservedly awarded Fight of the Night and it’s likely to be the best clash of the year as well, with the pair having gone to war over five pulsating rounds in Atlanta, Georgia.
Despite Holloway being the one who was moving up divisions in a bid to become a two-division titleholder, the Hawaii-native was a well-fancied fighter against Poirier. But ‘the Diamond’ is used to being written off in his professional MMA career and was keen to prove any doubters wrong once again in the octagon.
He did exactly that as he outfought one of the best strikers in the sport in an epic battle on American soil and finally realised his dream of having some UFC gold wrapped around his deserving waist. UFC president Dana White awarded Poirier his interim title after that remarkable clash, one that will go down in history as one of the best ever in the organisation at the top level. But the American is now aiming to go one better and become the king of the 155 lbs weight class by defeating Khabib.
However, that feat is perhaps the most difficult to achieve in the UFC right now. The Russian grappler has blasted through any man to stand in his way in the cage, with his most recent triumph coming against Irishman Conor McGregor last October in Las Vegas. In what went down as the biggest pay-per-view in UFC history in Nevada, Khabib was able to overcome ‘the Notorious’ and force a submission in the fourth round of proceedings. In the same way that Nate Diaz had previously defeated the controversial Dubliner, Nurmagomedov was able to lock in a rear-naked choke to end his night early and secure a massive victory.
What followed was a huge brawl, as the Russian let his emotions get the better of him. He launched himself into a crowd of McGregor’s trainers and friends at cageside, sparking a mass altercation between both sets of camps.
There isn’t the same bad blood heading into this clash with Poirier and the latter American will have momentum on his side from that admirable Holloway win. So, ‘the Diamond’ will be aiming to cause a massive upset and dethrone Khabib in style at UFC 242.