Dustin Poirier gained the attention of mixed martial arts fans when he stepped into the Octagon to face Josh Grispi at UFC 125. Grispi had been assigned a fight with Poirier when his original opponent on that card, newly crowned UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo was forced from the event due to injury. Poirier dominated the fight, taking the unanimous decision win and ending the title hopes of Grispi in the process.
That January 1, 2011 win launched Poirier (15-3) directly into the proverbial mix in the UFC's featherweight division. Now ranked No. 6 in the 145 pound division, Poirier will face the unranked Akira Corassani (12-3-0-1) on Wednesday's finale card for The Ultimate Fighter: Nations.
Poirier, appearing on a recent episode of MMAJunkie Radio, said of his upcoming opponent, "Akira's tough. It's going to be a fun fight. I'm prepared, but I don't think he's bringing anything to the table that I haven't seen before."
As for facing an unranked fighter while he resides in the top ten in the division, Poirier commented, "At the end of the day I'm a fighter, and when they (UFC) call me to go to work I lace my gloves up and show up wherever they need me. I'm 25-years-old, I have a lot of fights in front of me."
Where some would see fighting an opponent ranked outside the top 15 in the division as an almost no-win situation, Poirier isn't looking at the fight in that manner.
That approach may have something to do with the fact that Poirier finds some similarity between his situation in the Grispi fight and the spot Corassani is in heading into Wednesday, "This is about business," said Poirier of the fight. "It's about going out there, and getting another win on my record, and putting on a show and proving that every fighter is a test, and proving that I belong there -- showing growth from my last performance. I just want to be the best, and I think fighting and showing improvement is the way to do that."
Poirier seems focused on solidifying his standing as a top ranked featherweight heading into the bout against Corassani. How focused? When asked about the barbed comments that one Conor McGregor has thrown in his direction, Poirier replied, "Conor McGregor? I've never heard of him, he fights for the UFC? I'm focused on the big fights, I've never heard of the guy."
Poirier will meet Corassani on the main card of the TUF: Nations Finale.