Islam Makhachev Believes He’ll Be Stylistic Nightmare for Dustin Poirier

UFC
April 30, 2024
Islam Makhachev is expecting an easy night at the office in his upcoming title defense against Dustin Poirer.

Makhachev is scheduled to defend his lightweight title against Poirier in the main event at UFC 302 on June 1 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. While Makhachev acknowledges Poirier’s experience and elite striking, the lightweight champ believes he’ll dominate “The Diamond” on the ground. Makhachev’s mentor and teammate, Khabib Nurmagomedov, ragdolled Poirier before submitting him in the third round of their title unification clash at UFC 242 in September 2019. Thanks to his own elite grappling skills, Makhachev is expecting similar results.

“Dustin, he is a warrior, legend, and he have more than everybody, experience in this sport,” Makhachev told TMZ Sports. “But his problem is his style. That’s one problem this guy have. His weak point is wrestling and grappling. And I have the key for the easy fight, and I think if I follow the plan, I can beat him easy. My style and Khabib’s style, it’s worst style for this guy, Dustin. People who can take him down, hold him there, always give him problem.”

Makhachev was originally interesting in facing Justin Gaethje, who knocked out Poirier last year to win the BMF title, but “The Highlight” recently lost the strap against Max Holloway at UFC 300 earlier this month. While surging contender Arman Tsarukyan earned his right to a gold bid with a win over Charles Oliveira on the same card, he turned down a title shot against Makhachev due to the quick turnaround. Given the circumstances, Makhachev believes Poirier is the best opponent for his next defense.

“Dustin is a good opponent because Oliveira, Arman [Tsarukyan], I already beat these guys already,” Makhachev said. “My dream fight for this division is Gaethje, but he lose already. Right now in our weight, I think we just have Dustin because Arman say no, Gaethje lose, Oliveira lose. We don’t have someone.”

Despite having never won a fight via a guillotine, Poirier is notorious for attempting them at every opportunity, which has often worked to his detriment against elite wrestlers. Makhachev will be prepared if such a situation arises.

“Dustin, be ready and wrestling a lot. I defend my neck, I’m ready for your guillotine,” he said. “It’s not happen in our fight, but I will be ready.”

Makhachev’s next goal is to move up to welterweight to become a two-division champion. While Max Holloway’s recent BMF win will likely open up several options at lightweight, a Makhachev matchup won’t be one of them as the champ does not care about the BMF strap.

“Honestly, my dream fight is for the second belt [at] 170,” Makhachev said. “I don’t know who is gonna be there. Now is the champion we have Leon Edwards. About BMF, I don’t need this belt. Because I don’t know what is this belt, for what? And I [am] not under-estimating Poirier because this guy’s a legend. He have better than everybody striking, in my division, in this sport. I prepare myself for the tough fight.”

Reference: https://www.sherdog.com/news/news/Islam-Makhachev-Believes-Hell-Be-Stylistic-Nightmare-for-Dustin-Poirier-193504

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