A little over a year ago top featherweight Dustin Poirier was a WEC transplant taking on top contender Josh Grispi who appeared destined for a date with divisional champion Jose Aldo. Poirier promptly put a Bayou beatdown on Grispi, outpointing him in a one-sided affair most never saw coming.
The moment obviously stands out in Poirier’s mind but not simply because it established him as a force in the UFC or was an impressive victory on a major show. If anything the win seems to have humbled him.
The 23-year old Poirier recently spoke about the impact his success against Grispi has had on his approach to competition, specifically in the case of newcomer Max Holloway who he faces this Saturday night at UFC 143.
“I don’t care if he has one fight or 100 fights, I’m in this fight 100%. He’s a dangerous guy. He’s 4-0. I’m not underestimating this guy. I’m training like I’m fighting Anderson Silva. I’m over here and I’m not taking him lightly. I know how that happens to people.” explained Poirier in an interview with the UFC’s website. “Just a year ago, I was in his shoes. I was getting into the cage fighting Josh Grispi, no one knew who I was and I was supposed to get destroyed by a top ten guy. I went in there and I destroyed him. Nobody knew that was going to happen. He’s over there training and he’s thinking he is going to do the same thing to me.”
Holloway is serving as a replacement for Ricardo Lamas who pulled out of the fight with an injury after original opponent Erik Koch had also done so in late December. While some fighters might say the switch has had little impact on their preparation process, Poirier actually sees things differently based on his complete dedication to his professional endeavor.
“In my mind, it’s real huge to me when things like that change because I am thinking about it so much,” said Poirier on the subject of rotating opponents. “I play the fights out in my head so many times. I think about this 24 hours a day from the time I wake up until the time I wake up again. I even dream about it. This is my life. This isn’t a hobby or just a career I’m trying to be good at – this is everything.”
However, the 11-1 Poirier also acknowledged there is a constant silver lining when it comes to the situation, continuing, “With all the changes that are happening, the one thing that keeps my confidence up is the one thing that is consistent the whole time and that is me busting my ass and getting ready to fight. That hasn’t changed. No matter who I fight, I’m out here every day grinding, getting ready to fight. At the end of the day, I’m a fighter and we’re going to get into that cage, close the door and we’re going to fight. That’s something that hasn’t changed.”
Fans can catch Poirier-Holloway at the conclusion of the UFC 143 prelims, a set of bouts scheduled to start on Facebook at 7:00 PM EST before heading over to FX an hour later.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC