Dustin Poirier: Charles Oliveira Isn’t The Toughest Opponent At 155 Pounds
For Dustin Poirier, he doesn’t consider lightweight champion Charles Oliveira is the most formidable opponent in the division.
After beating Conor McGregor twice in a row, Poirier (28-6) is more likely to fight for the title against Oliveira (31-8). But Poirier named Islam Makhachev as the toughest lightweight to face.
Makhachev is considered as the next Khabib Nurmagomedov who is now retired. The two’s fighting style is identical. They have been training together for decades. They both started training in sambo, and now Nurmagomedov is helping him as a coach.
“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. “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.”
Poirier is still likely to face Oliveira for the lightweight crown, but it’s not the first time he’s fought for the title.
After winning the interim lightweight title against Max Holloway, Poirier shared the octagon with Nurmagomedov in 2019.
Poirier had a good moment when he tried to choke his opponent with a guillotine choke, but he could not close the guard and put all his energy in the guillotine from half guard.
“He’s just so advanced,” Poirier said of Khabib 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,” he added. “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.”
Poirier lost via submission two minutes into Round 3.
Nurmagomedov retired after beating Justin Gaethje. Meanwhile, his student, Makhachev will fight against the former lightweight champion, Rafael Dos Anjos, at UFC 267 on October 30.
Makhachev is the No. 5 ranked lightweight contender and defeating a name like RDA might give him an opportunity to fight for the title in 2022.