UFC 242 is an event that will haunt Dustin Poirier for the rest of his life.
‘The Diamond’ felt it was his destiny to dethrone Khabib Nurmagomedov and become UFC lightweight champion, but instead the 30-year-old suffered the most lopsided defeat of his career, losing to Khabib via third-round submission after being thoroughly dominated for most of the rounds prior.
Speaking to the press at a UFC 242 post-fight media scrum, Poirier explained why this loss was so personal and devastating for his legacy.
“I’m familiar with adversity,” an emotional Poirier said, per MMA Fighting’s Alexander K. Lee. “It’s just I have to live the rest of my life asking myself if I could have done more, if I could have maybe escaped some of those takedowns. If I could have pushed harder when I had my underhooks against the fence.
“Those are the questions that will haunt me. I’ve lost before.”
“The guy’s good, man,” he added. “He’s the world champ. Maybe I could have done more. You know, hindsight’s 20/20. I was very prepared for this fight, to fight 25 minutes. He did exactly what I thought he was going to do. Of course, I’m going to beat myself up and I’m the only one who has to deal with this, me and my family. I’m just wondering if maybe against the fence, when I got underhooks, if I could have tried a little bit harder to get off the fence maybe. But that’s just the questions that I’m going to have to live with for the rest of my life. I thought for sure he was winning the rounds. Taking me down and dominating, but I felt like he was squeezing hard, we were getting slicker, I felt like he was getting a little weaker.”
Despite losing, Poirier is still a tremendous competitor and one of the best fighters in the most competitive and talent-stacked division in the UFC. The American Top Team product has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of for losing to arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.
Chin up, Dustin Poirier.