Dustin Poirier heads into his fight with Michael Johnson this Saturday night in Hidalgo, Texas riding a four-fight winning streak.
Since moving up to lightweight, ‘The Diamond’ has scored first-round wins over Carlos Diego Ferreira, Yancy Medeiros and, most recently, Bobby Green. Sandwiched in between the Medeiros and Green victories, was a unanimous decision win over Ireland’s Joseph Duffy in a tough, exciting scrap at UFC 195 back in January.
It’s been a great run, especially considering that it came off the back of a devastating 106-second TKO defeat at the heavy-hands of Conor McGregor, the first KO/TKO loss of his entire career, in his final featherweight bout at UFC 178.
In a recent interview with FloCombat, Poirier actually revealed that the loss to McGregor had taught him a valuable lesson, one that has contributed to his run of success.
“I’ve always been an emotional fighter and that emotion fueled a lot of my early performances,” Poirier told Duane Finley. “I would get angry because I’m about to step in there and go toe-to-toe with someone who is trying to hurt me just like I intend to hurt them, and that energy shifts gears into that kill or be killed mindset.”
“I remember I was backstage getting ready to walk out and I saw him and he threw this smile and pointed at me. I don’t know why but it really got to me, man. It really messed with my head. I mean I’m about to go out and fight this dude and he’s back there smiling at me? After that fight I knew I had to find a different way to use my emotion.”
It seems that he managed to do so.
“Put it this way, Bobby Green tried to do the exact same sh**,” he said, before adding “and it didn’t work out too well for him.”
However, Poirier isn’t suggesting that McGregor’s mind games or his own raw, naive response to them were the only reasons he lost that fight. Far from it.
On a recent edition of UFC Unfiltered, the Louisiana native gave McGregor his props and delivered a very complimentary review of ‘The Notorious’ one’s punching power.
“I can’t blame it on the weight or the talk,” Poirier told hosts Matt Serra and Jim Norton. “I mean, he hit me with a good shot and then I tried to circle, I planted my feet and he hit me with another good shot and I went down.”
“I have 33 fights and…unless it was just the spot, but the track record speaks for itself – he’s the champ right now. But I think his are the hardest hands I have ever felt.”
The results do indeed speak for themselves. Of the 20 men that the Dubliner has beaten in his professional career, only two have gone the scheduled distance. Of the other 18, 17 were finished via KO/TKO, with just one man, Dave Hill, losing via submission.
It’s not the first time that the tough 27-year-old has spoken highly of McGregor’s vaunted left-hand. After the SBG product sparked Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds at UFC 194 last December, Poirier responded on Twitter…
That left hand is something serious… #UFC194
— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) December 13, 2015
Poirier’s bout against Johnson, the number 10 lightweight in the UFC according to the promotion’s official rankings, is the main event of this Saturday’s show, which also features an intriguing middleweight bout between Derek Brunson and Uriah Hall.
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