Dustin Poirier has compared himself to Rocky Balboa ahead into his highly anticipated lightweight title unification bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 and believes it will be one of the biggest pay-per-view events of the year.
Speaking to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto in a recent interview, ‘The Diamond’ said he is treating his upcoming title bout with Khabib as a ‘superfight’ and compared it to a Rocky movie.
“This is real, I’m a world champion,” Poirier said (transcript via Cole Shelton of BJPenn.com). “As is he. This is a super fight to me. That’s how I feel, that’s what this feels like to me. We’re going to a sold-out arena they’re building as we speak in Abu Dhabi, the middle of the desert, and princes and sheiks will be there. It’s crazy. It’s a Rocky movie.”
Although Poirier is the heavy underdog against Nurmagomedov, the newly-crowned interim champ believes he has the skill set and mindset to unify the lightweight titles and hand ‘The Eagle’ his first professional career loss.
“A lot of guys he’s fought have the skills to beat him,” Poirier said. “Fighting’s a crazy thing, it takes one mistake. He can be beaten by anybody. It’s just as camps going on for me, I’m starting to realize things and say, ‘Well I wonder if they made this mistake’. I’ve only been in camp for a week. But, I’m noticing I’m paying a lot of attention to specific positions and the small details in those positions. I can see how somebody fighting a dominant guy who’s never been beat like Khabib could get not overwhelmed, but look too far in the details of defense and staying safe and position.
“It’s a ying-yang, man. You got to have a balance. If you just worry about that, you lose what you do the best.”
UFC 242: Khabib vs. Poirier takes place later this year, September 7 at du Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
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