Dustin Poirier will look to add another former UFC lightweight champion to his hit list next month at UFC Calgary, and ‘The Diamond’ knows he has his work cut out for him against Eddie Alvarez.
Poirier and Alvarez fought in a back-and-forth brawl last year at UFC 211, but the bout ended prematurely after ‘The Underground King’ landed a series of illegal knees in the second round. Veteran referee Herb Dean ruled the bout a No Contest, and Poirier has been angling for a rematch ever since.
Alvarez, however, who hailed himself ‘the most violent man in the UFC’ after his knockout win over Justin Gaethje last year, was reluctant to accept the fight.
Poirier, a top-five lightweight contender, also suspects Alvarez’ UFC contract negotiations didn’t go so well and believes his back is against the wall.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Poirier said the former UFC and Bellator lightweight champ is most dangerous when he feels ‘cornered’ and expects to face the toughest Alvarez to date at UFC on FOX 30.
“Now we have a guy cornered,” Poirier said, per MMA Fighting’s Dave Doyle. “We’ve been chasing him, the UFC has been chasing him for this rematch. We’ve got him cornered. I believe he’s fighting out his contract, he didn’t come to an agreement with the UFC. He didn’t want this fight, so we’ve got a man doing two things he doesn’t want to do. I’m sure he wanted some security, he wanted a new contract, he wanted the numbers he was asking for.
“So now he’s betting on himself and he’s fighting his contract out, and he’s fighting someone he doesn’t really want to fight,” Poirier continued. “So he has a point to prove. This might be the most dangerous Eddie Alvarez we’ve ever seen. And I know that, and expect that, and I’m excited about it.”
Reflecting back on their first fight at UFC 211, and the subsequent trash talk from Alvarez, 29-year-old Poirier believes the Philadelphian may have landed those illegal knees intentionally.
“I respect the guy for betting on himself and believing in himself, I think we’re going to go out there and prove who’s better,” Poirier said. “But I felt like I was winning the fight and I grew up watching Eddie Alvarez fight, like I said, in Japan or whatever, when HD Net was around, they used to push him well. I was a big fan of the guy.
“But just things that were said after fight, the shot that ended the fight. I’ve been stopped obviously a couple times in fighting. I never had any symptoms of concussions or anything. That knee that Eddie hit me with was the worst symptoms of a concussion I’ve ever had in my life. That was an illegal shot that got me good, man. I’m a warrior too, I’ll go out on my shield. That was a bad shot. In the middle of the fight, I thought it was an accident. But just the stuff the guy said online, ‘are you off your stool now?’, That’s where I lost respect for the guy. ... That makes me feel like maybe the shot was a veteran move.”
UFC on FOX: Alvarez vs. Poirier 2 takes place next month, July 28 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.