Josh Grispi was supposed to challenge UFC champ Jose Aldo at the UFC 125 co-main event in the first ever UFC featherweight title fight. Instead he'll face the unheralded Dustin Poirier on the preliminary card on ION TV.
Regardless it's likely more fans will see this bout than saw any of either fighters bouts in the WEC.
The 22 year old Grispi has long been regarded as one of MMA's top prospects. He began his career at 18 and quickly reeled off a long string of wins via both submission and knock out. A lone loss via heel hook in 2006 is the only mar on his record.
Grispi finished every foe he faced in the WEC, notching his belt with the names of L.C. Davis, Jens Pulver, Micah Miller and Mark Hominick since signing with Zuffa.
The 21 year old Poirier has one WEC wins on his record. He knocked out Zach Micklewright at WEC 52 in November. Before that he lost a decision to Danny Castillo at WEC 50.
Bloody Elbow's Leland Roling previewed the Grispi vs Poirier bout:
Josh Grispi (14-1, 4-0 WEC/UFC) vs. Dustin Poirier (8-1, 2-0 WEC/UFC): Grispi may be the lone assassin waiting in the shadows to pick off Jose Aldo's perceived invincibility at the top of the division, but many fans have no idea who the brilliant 22-year-old from Plympton, Massachusetts actually is. His obscurity with the casual fanbase has mostly been due to the fact that he's suffered a bevy of injuries, only fighting four times in the last two years. Incredibly, Grispi hasn't missed a beat when he's returned from the long layoffs. He submitted LC Davis in 2:33 of the first round at WEC 49 after a little over a year off from the sport. To say that's amazing is an understatement.
Poirier will step into the Octagon having won at WEC 52 a little over one month ago in quick fashion as he dispatched of Zach Micklewright in fifty-three seconds. While that may seem impressive, Poirer hasn't been tested at the level that Grispi has been fighting at since his debut in the WEC, and in my mind -- this is Grispi's fight to lose. Grispi is one of the slick, young guns in this sport, and he continues to impress with every performance. Look for him to do the same in this showdown, either by TKO or a guillotine choke.
Jonathan Snowden spoke to Grispi before the fight about his aborted title shot against Jose Aldo:
"I was a little bummed at first. But you take it as it comes," Grispi said. "The fight was on for awhile and we got all this publicity. And then it just went away. Now I'm fighting someone else. I'm not saying he's not dangerous, but obviously Aldo is Jose Aldo. Training to fight Aldo really had me hyped up and it pushed me to a new level. I think it was good for me actually."