Dustin Poirier believes win over Khabib will cement him as UFC lightweight GOAT

At UFC 242 on September 7, UFC interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier will attempt to do what 27 other fighters have failed to do and defeat undisputed UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

If he is successful on this mission, he believes he’ll cement himself as the best lightweight to ever compete in the UFC.

“I think with a win over Khabib, I cement myself as the best lightweight to ever fight in the UFC, if you look at my last four, five fights, that run of former and current world champions,” Poirier told ESPN in a recent interview (transcript via MMA News). “And then if I go out there and beat a guy who’s never been defeated in 27 fights, it’s safe to say I might be one of the best lightweight to ever put on a pair of 4-ounce gloves. That’s what I want my legacy to be.”

While fighters like Benson Henderson, BJ Penn, Anthony Pettis, Rafael dos Anjos and Tony Ferguson might beg to differ on this comment from Dustin Poirier, Poirier’s logic is fairly sound.

Since returning the UFC lightweight division after a lengthy stint at featherweight, he’s defeated top-flight foes like Max Holloway (the current featherweight champ), Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, Anthony Pettis, Jim Miller, Bobby Green, Joe Duffy and more. He certainly deserves a place in the lightweight GOAT debate.

If Dustin Poirier defeats Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 this September, where do you think he’ll rank amongst the sports best lightweights?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/14/2019.

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Tyson Fury receives high praise from UFC’s Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov

This weekend, heavyweight boxing star Tyson Fury will return to the ring to take on Germany’s Tom Schwarz. The Brit will do so with the full confidence of two of the UFC’s biggest stars: Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor.

Conor McGregor praised Tyson Fury first, calling him the No. 1 heavyweight boxer in a recent Twitter post.

“This is what fully committed pad work looks like,” McGregor wrote in response to a video of Fury hitting the pads. “Amazing! Welcome to The Mac Life ‘Gypsy King’ Tyson Fury! Leading the game from all angles. Enjoy Sin city my man we are not here for a long time, we are here for a good time. Atta boy Tyson, The number 1 HW boxer of this era.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov, who happens to be McGregor’s arch rival, offered some praise to Fury shortly thereafter, while on a media tour in London, England.

“I think best is Tyson Fury,” Nurmagomedov said (via MMA Junkie). “In my opinion, like boxing, he’s the best right now, my opinion. Because you see his fight versus Wilder. Without the knockdown, he beat him. Right now is not bad in heavyweight boxing. (Andy) Ruiz, (Anthony) Joshua, (Deontay) Wilder, if (Wladimir) Klitischko come back, it’s very good heavyweight right now, heavyweight time.”

“But my opinion, Fury is the best, maybe I’m wrong. Sorry about other guys. I like all of them respect all of them but this is very good time for boxing heavyweight division.”

Needless to say, it seems like Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov have finally found something they agree on, and that is the world class talent of Tyson Fury.

How do you think Fury will perform in his fight this weekend? Do you consider him the world’s best heavyweight boxer?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/14/2019.

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Khabib Nurmagomedov believes Tyson Fury is boxing’s best heavyweight

LONDON – If anyone is qualified to judge who’s best in the world in a combat sport, it another elite competitor in the fistic arts.

UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedovhas run up a 27-0 record in his career, and he’s not just a fan of MMA. The Dagestan native enjoys all the martial arts, including boxing.

And while Nurmagomedov has a case for No. 1 overall pound-for-pound, there’s a competitor he believes is best in the squared circle: Tyson Fury. the WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight champion.

“I think best is Tyson Fury,” Nurmagomedov recently told MMA Junkie. “In my opinion, like boxing, he’s the best right now, my opinion. Because you see his fight versus Wilder. Without the knockdown he beat him. Right now is not bad in heavyweight boxing. Andy) Ruiz, (Anthony) Joshua, (Deontay) Wilder, if (Wladimir) Klitischko come back, it’s very good heavyweight right now, heavyweight time.”

“But my opinion, Fury is the best maybe I’m wrong sorry about other guys like all of them respect all fo them but this is very good time for boxing heavyweight division.”

Now, while Nurmagomedov enjoys the sport of boxing, he prefers the UFC for it’s ability to make matches the fans want faster than its counterpart.

“If you talk about MMA, they make perfect, toughest matchup, guys, they fight each other,” he said. “It if was like in boxing, a lot of stars, they don’t fight each other. But if it was UFC, if you are tough, and other guy tough, people want to see this, after like 5-6 months, UFC make this.”

The most famous example in recent years was the several year delay in building up to a Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao megafight. And recently, Andy Ruiz Jr.’s upset win over Joshua, which has for now derailed a fight between Joshua and Wilder. 

“In boxing if you want to watch Wilder vs. Joshua, or something like this fight, you have to wait years and years,” Nurmagomedov said. “It’s why I love UFC because, I like, they make this. If this was boxing, how many years were we waiting (for) Pacquiao and mayweather? How many years Wilder and Tyson Fury hit 100-0 and 100-0 and people beg ‘please make this fight.’” 

For more from Nurmagomedov, click on the video above.

For more on the upcoming schedule, check out our Rumors page.

Khabib Nurmagomedov downplays skills of Ferguson, Cerrone

Last weekend, Tony Ferguson and Donald Cerrone collided in a thrilling war, reminding the world why they’re regarded as two of the lightweight division’s top fighters. Reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, however, wasn’t all that impressed with what he saw.

Speaking to  ESPN recently, Nurmagomedov broke down the skills of the two fighters, starting with “Cowboy” Cerrone.

“It was an interesting fight, but anyways, it was standup fight,” Khabib Nurmagomedov said of Cerrone and Ferguson’s fight. “This is not my style, I maul my opponents. I take them down, smother them and make them tired. My style is much different than ‘Cowboy.’

“Even if we talk about boxing, ‘Cowboy’ is a very good kicker but he is not a great boxer. He is not a good top boxer, you know? He have not a bad jab, but when someone pressures him he stop. Mentally he is not strong.”

Next, Khabib Nurmagomedov discussed his rival Tony Ferguson, assuring he would maul the dynamic fighter like he mauls everybody else.

“That’s why I win this fight [with Ferguson], maybe Tony think I am going to risk or I am going to striking with him, like all of his opponents,” he said. “No way. He is very skinny on his body and I am going to take him, catch him and in a couple of minutes make him tired and finish him. I am completely different fighter than all his opponents.”

Interestingly, Khabib Nurmagomedov has been scheduled to fight both Donald Cerrone and Tony Ferguson before. He’s been paired with Cerrone twice, and Ferguson a whopping four times, but thanks to a series of unfortunate twists, has yet to share the cage with either man. Depending on how things shake out in his UFC 242 fight with Dustin Poirier, that could certainly soon change.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/14/2019.

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Dustin Poirier: I don’t need Khabib Nurmagomedov to be weak for me to be strong


LONDON – Dustin Poirier knows exactly what he’s getting himself into at UFC 242.

Poirier (25-5 MMA, 17-4 UFC), who captured the interim UFC lightweight title to earn his shot at Khabib Nurmagomedov in a title unification bout in Abu Dhabi, admitted it’s hard to find holes in someone’s game when they’re undefeated at 27-0.

That fact may plant seeds of doubt into even the most confident of fighters, but “The Diamond” has been around the game long enough not to concern himself with the Russian world champion’s unblemished record. Instead, Poirier says, he’s focusing on what he will do when the pair finally meet in the desert on September 7.

While some fighters pick apart their opponent’s past fights and seek to exploit perceived holes in their technique, Poirier is focusing on controlling the controllable and making sure he gives his best performance on fight night.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday at a UFC 242 press conference, Poirier laid out his plan. “Just be myself, go out there and show the world what I’m capable of,” Poirier said. “Twenty-seven have tried, and 27 have failed.

“A lot of people have been asking me questions like where do I see weaknesses in Khabib’s game or where do I think he makes mistakes. I’ve been sitting back and talking to my coaches and thinking about this, and I don’t really need him to be weak for me to be strong.

“I don’t need huge glaring holes. I’m going to create them with my pressure, my fight IQ, my experience, and the amount of rounds and years that I’ve been doing this.”

Poirier knows he’s the underdog heading into the contest, but his answers came across very much like a man comfortable with his abilities and confident he can execute on fight night.

And, given his form over the past two years, that should come as no surprise. Poirier finished former UFC lightweight champions Anthony Pettis and Eddie Alvarez, plus ex-WSOF lightweight champ Justin Gaethje in an incredible 20-month run. Then, in his most recent outing, he handed reigning UFC featherweight champ Max Holloway his first loss in almost six years.

Now he has his sights set on Nurmagomedov (27-0 MMA, 11-0 UFC), and he promised an elite-level matchup between two of the sport’s best in any weight class.

“It’s going to be a very high-level fight,” Poirier said. “We’ve got two guys on the pound-for-pound list. One of them’s undefeated, both of them are champions. Two champions are going in, one champion is coming out.

“This is going to be a huge fight.”

For more on UFC 242, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

UFC 242 | Dustin Poirier explains why he is the man to dethrone Khabib Nurmagomedov

27 have tried, and 27 have failed, but Dustin Poirier believes he is different.

In the main event of UFC 242, Khabib Nurmagomedov will look to defend his lightweight title against current interim title holder Dustin Poirier. Although no one has beaten “The Eagle”, Poirier knows exactly what he has to do to win the fight. And, it is simply being himself.

“Experience, self-belief, my mindset. I’m focused on making history, and that’s all I care about,” Poirier said at the UFC 242 press conference. “That’s what the next 11 weeks of my life are doing to be: to prepare for 25 minutes, to do whatever I have to do to get my hand raised.”

However, Dustin Poirier knows he will have to fight well to win on September 7. He understands just how good Khabib Nurmagomedov is. But, Poirier says his pressure will create holes where he will gain the advantage.

“I don’t need to find huge holes (in his game) – the guy’s good, you know?” Dustin Poirier said. “I can’t sit up here and say anything bad about the guy – he’s good. He’s a world champ. “But I’m going to make things happen in there and bring him to places he’s never been in there. So that’s just it.”

Ultimately, after fighting professionally since 2009, this is the moment “The Diamond” has been waiting for. He has grown throughout his career and after beating former champions, he is ready to beat the current UFC lightweight kingpin. And, that all starts by believing in himself and his game plan.

“I’ve learned that I can count on myself, that I can trust me,” Dustin Poirier added. “Adversity introduces a man to himself, and I’ve been through it, man. So I’m well acquainted, and I’m ready to rock.”

Do you think Dustin Poirier can beat Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242? Sound off in the comment section, PENN Nation!

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/12/2019.

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