Dustin Poirier could barely contain his excitement ahead of his UFC 242 lightweight title bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov in Abu Dhabi.
The event as a whole certainly has a special feel to it, not only due to the return of the lightweight champion and his emergence as a global superstar.
Though favoured to hand Dustin Poirier his first defeat since 2016, this has been seen by many as one of the most intriguing lightweight title fights of all time and according to The Diamond himself, the seeds have been planted for a very special night.
Speaking in a recent interview with ESPN, Poirier spoke about the setting of his UFC 242 showdown with Khabib
“This is real, I’m a world champion. 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.”
As for the fight itself, Poirier, who will enter as the betting underdog, backs his experience in those gruelling fights as his main x factor in a clash against the unbeaten Dagestani.
“A lot of guys he’s fought have the skills to beat him. 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.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena